AFTER weeks of anticipation, the Hang Seng Index finally pierced the 7,000-point barrier yesterday, jumping 160.63 points to 7,002.6 as international and retail investors grabbed a piece of the fast-moving share market. The rally caught many traders and brokers by surprise, because they had expected the market to take a breather until after the Sino-British talks, to be held from May 21 to 23, and a United States decision on China's Most Favoured Nation trading status. However, Barclays de Zoete Wedd director K.S. Ng said many investors had viewed Tuesday's Sino-British Land Commission agreement on land use as a strong enough signal to buy shares. HG (Asia) director Alan Hargreaves said there was still a lot of liquidity flowing into the market from North American pension funds, which had barely tapped Asian markets, and China. ''The market is in a mood that it wants to take political news as good news,'' he said. ''The Land Commission [agreement] was not unexpected but it was good news and the market responded.'' Mr Hargreaves said the index should be able to maintain its strength because it went through the 7,000 barrier fairly easily and resisted a late round of profit-taking, which saw heavy volume during the last 30 minutes of trading. ''There were lots of buying support to send it higher,'' he said. Following Tuesday's 102.74 point jump, the index soared 51.94 points to 6,893.91 shortly after trading began yesterday. It steadily gained strength throughout the morning, passing through the 6,900 mark by 11.30 am before hitting 6,957.87 by lunchtime. The positive momentum continued in the afternoon, with the index peaking at 7,015.59 before closing at 7,002.6. Turnover for the day was $5.6 billion. For the second straight day, the property sector provided the index with a huge boost. The property sub-index climbed 389.68 points to 11,399.54. Cheung Kong led the charge, rising $1 to an all-time record of $28.20. It was the most heavily traded stock, with a turnover of $303.85 million. Hongkong Land was up 90 cents to $14.70, a rise fuelled partly by rumours that Chinese Estates could acquire a big stake. Sun Hung Kai Property jumped 50 cents to $39. Among the non-index property counters, Sino Land attracted a lot of attention with turnover of $183.81 million. The stock rose 35 cents to $5.90. Some second-line property stocks also made large gains, with Tern Properties up 10.5 per cent or 25 cents to $2.625, Singapore Hongkong Properties 9.3 per cent or 37.5 cents to $4.40 and Hon Kwok Land 9.1 per cent or 20 cents to $2.375. Hongkong Telecommunications rose 50 cents to $11 on a turnover of $147.93 million. Brokers said there had been strong buying from the US and speculation the company had clinched a telecommunications project in China. The latest second-liner to attract speculative interest about a possible mainland takeover was Wing Hung Kee, which soared 44.2 per cent or 23 cents to 75 cents. The May index future closed at 7,000, 2.6 points below the Hang Seng Index and three points below the Morgan Stanley International Capital Index. Mr James Vinall, head of sales for SBC Derivatives, said this indicated investors were not convinced about a bull market because there had not been strong buying of futures contracts to provide upside exposure. ''The futures market is not showing us anything, which basically indicates people are long on stocks at the moment,'' he said. He said the issue that most worried SBC was the crisis looming in China's economy.