With all eyes on the release of key United States data and global markets racked by interest rate nerves, Hong Kong blue chips are expected to face further pressure this week. Analysts said the Dow Jones Industrial Average's 2.59 per cent slide on Friday had cast a pall over Hong Kong's already lacklustre Hang Seng Index. The benchmark closed down 1.5 per cent on Friday at 12,299.08 points - its lowest level since late May - amid a wave of fund-raising issues, interest rate concerns and an absence of positive news. US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said last week US equities might be overpriced, while investors also heard producer prices rose a higher than expected 1.1 per cent last month. US consumer price index data is due out today and unemployment claims data is set for release on Thursday. 'The major concern is still the US interest rate outlook and also we have seen the futures trading at a deep discount,' OSK Securities research manager Alex Wong said. 'The market will still be under pressure and may breach 12,000 but I think 11,800 will be the support. The range will probably be 11,900 to 12,500.' Other players expect the index to be tested at about 11,100 points before any sign of improvement. Nomura International Securities Hong Kong sales head Stephen Vinnik said: 'The risks remain on the downside in this quarter. 'Wall Street is hanging out there in no-man's land . . . they're pricing in a rate [rise] and Greenspan has said equity yields are very unrealistic. 'In short, our view is going to be somewhat bearish on the States.' The Federal Reserve is due to meet again next month, when analysts have generally forecast there will be another interest rate rise. The Fed raised rates 25 basis points in August but decided against another increase at its meeting earlier this month. Mr Vinnik said a rise of 50 basis points was not out of the question. He said the common outlook was for a 25-point increase but 'I do think 50 points is not an unreasonable expectation. What I think is that we need to test 11,100.' Other market sources hope the US market will not plummet and regional plays will hold their ground. Celestial Asia Securities director Eugene Law Ka-kin said provided there was not a meltdown on Wall Street, Asian markets had a chance. 'It is a big 'if' but if the US is not going to dive, for Hong Kong we are maybe looking at around 11,800,' Mr Law said. 'We expect the US market to be very choppy but there is a possibility that Wall Street could stage a recovery [yesterday].' Also dampening sentiment recently in Hong Kong was last Friday's news that the initial public offering by mainland oil company CNOOC had been postponed. Mainland plays slipped back on Friday, with the red-chip index declining 3.56 per cent to 954.46 points, while H shares lost 4.23 per cent to 486.66 points. The CNOOC move could be a bad sign for other big cash calls by mainland companies, including China Petrochemical Corp. Other brokers said the news came as a surprise but should have been discounted by the close of trade. Mr Wong said: 'The impact should have been discounted on Friday as everyone knew it in the afternoon.'