A REBOUND by banking stocks and news that the Sino-British Land Commission had reached a land sale agreement helped the Hang Seng Index post its best performance in three weeks with a 102.74-point climb. The index closed at 6,841.97, just 52.93 points below its record high, on turnover of $4.2 billion. But analysts cautioned that the rally would be short-lived because there were too many unresolved issues, such as Sino-British political differences and uncertainty about China's Most Favoured Nation trade status with the US, to allow a market break-out. ''I don't think today's news will remove all the uncertainties,'' said Standard Chartered Securities research director Edward Chan. ''I think it's a short-term swing.'' DBS Securities research director Eugene Law added that investors had been so starved of good news that they used any positive developments as an excuse to prop up the market. ''Generally speaking, it doesn't mean we are out of the trading range yet,'' he said. Crosby Securities institutional sales director Julian Wood was more optimistic, saying any deal between China and Britain was encouraging because it indicated that the two could come up with an agreement. Mr Wood said the only disappointing development was the lack of an agreement regarding the proposed Container Terminal 9. The May futures contract rose 119 points yesterday to close at 6,874, a 32-point premium to the cash market. Dealers said the move indicated considerable optimism remaining despite the 102.74-point rise in the spot index yesterday. The futures close is less than 20 points away from the record Hang Seng index close of 6,894.9. Prices on the futures market started to move up more than an hour before the official announcement from the Land Commission, dealers said, with significant activity from mainland-linked brokerages. The Land Commission decision saw investors rush to property counters, with the sub-index jumping 221.87 points to 11,009.86. Sun Hung Kai Properties continued its recent climb with another 75-cent rise to $38.50 on heavy turnover of $164.3 million. New World Development climbed 30 cents to $20.90, Hongkong Land was up 20 cents to $13.80 and Cheung Kong rose 60 cents to $27.20. Henderson Land Development jumped 70 cents to $20.30 on volume of only 1.07 million shares, leading some brokers to speculate that it might make a placement soon. The banking sector accounted for 27.35 points of yesterday's index rise after it was buoyed by strong purchases of HSBC Holdings in London on Monday night. HSBC, which had tumbled 7.4 per cent in the past two weeks, gained $1 to close at $69. It was the most heavily traded stock, with turnover of $278.7 million. Brokers said investors were buoyed by an HSBC statement that its Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp subsidiary did not expect any material losses after it was included in a Reserve Bank of India report on the country's 40 billion rupee (about HK$9 billion) stock scandal. Hang Seng Bank was up $1 to $56.50, while Bank of East Asia climbed 50 cents to $35.50. The banking sector got the Hang Seng Index off to a rousing start with a 43.33-point jump to 6,782.56 after only 15 minutes of trading. After climbing to nearly 6,800, news of the Land Commission agreement led the index on a late-morning surge to 6,819.47 before lunchtime. In the afternoon, investors' enthusiasm for property stocks helped the index peak at 6,872.79 before profit-taking in the final 30 minutes took some steam out of the rally. The biggest improvement was posted by Tung Wing Steel, which jumped $1.10 or 20.9 per cent to $6.35. This was the second consecutive day that the stock had jumped following an announcement of an asset injection by Shougang Corp and a $1.88 billion rights issue. A broker said many investment funds had jumped on the Tung Wing bandwagon because they thought it would follow the same path taken by Guangzhou Investment and develop from a shell company into a business with respectable assets and profits. Hongkong Daily News was up 19 cents or 12.4 per cent to $1.72 after shareholders approved a reorganisation plan that would see the company become a wholly owned subsidiary of a new holding vehicle, Hongkong Daily News Holdings. World Trade Centre Group climbed 17 cents or 10 per cent to $1.87 after a sharp drop on Monday. , which brokers said was caused by Peregrine dumping a large block of shares. Nomura Research sales head Philip Pang said yesterday's rally was supported by significant US interest, including program buying by major investment firms. ''If you look across the region there is still some downside in places like Thailand, so a lot of money is being re-channelled into Hongkong,'' he said. ''People are looking at the long-term and saying they will ride with the market.''