China Telecom and several property plays buoyed the Hang Seng Index yesterday, ahead of the interest rate setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in the United States later in the day. The index ended 123.03 points, or 0.95 per cent, higher at 12,998.89 on a turnover of $6.9 billion. 'It was a day of sitting back and waiting and that's because of the FOMC meeting,' Paribas Asia Equity Hong Kong research head Simon Irwin said. China Telecom jumped 3.62 per cent to $25.70 after the company announced it would pay its parent $49.71 billion for three mobile telephone networks in the mainland. Daiwa Securities Asian sales vice-president Michael Liang said: 'It was all down to China Telecom . . . and probably Wharf, but it was very, very quiet.' Selected blue-chip property counters came back from weeks of sell-offs as blue chips again regained centre-stage. Wharf moved 3.36 per cent higher to $23.05 and Henderson Land gained 3.05 per cent to $37.10. Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa will deliver his policy speech today and analysts widely expected him to reveal positive news for some leading property developers. Delta Asia Securities research head Ricky Tam Siu-hing said: 'Tung's speech may have some news about public ownership [of property] . . . so you saw that property stocks were quite strong.' Sun Hung Kai Properties rose 3.3 per cent to $62.50 and Cheung Kong recovered after a substantial fall on Monday, closing 1.96 per cent firmer at $64.75. Cheung Kong topped the turnover table, with trading worth $477.59 million. 'Property seems to have recovered a bit as the recent sell-off has been very sharp,' Mr Liang said. Several second and third-line plays continued to drop back, with the exception of Founder, which soared 23.59 per cent to $2.75. Founder was stronger on news the company's deal with US-based Yahoo! was back on track, sources said. The company announced recently that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Yahoo! to form a joint venture for further development of the Yahoo! mainland portal. City Telecom rose to a high of $7.10 before closing 4.58 per cent weaker on the day at $6.25. City Telecom has announced plans for a New York listing of ADRs representing new shares in the company but has not yet announced the size or target pricing of the offering. One dealer said there was a rumour the company's American depositary receipts (ADR) would be issued at US$1 each. Some smaller companies attempted to conduct top-up share placements after the market closed yesterday. It is understood that Chinney Alliance was seeking to raise $120 million by offering 400 million shares at 30 cents each. Banking sources said the placement was postponed as the company sought a higher placing price given that the counter finished yesterday 22.09 per cent lower at 33.5 cents. Leading Spirit High-Tech suspended trade yesterday. Brokers said this involved a $600 million placement. Fashion retailer Chaifa said yesterday it planned to raise $22 million by selling shares equivalent to 16.7 per cent of its enlarged share capital to independent third parties.