A stronger Wall Street and positive sentiment surrounding Li Ka-shing's firms helped boost the Hong Kong market yesterday, although brokers attributed the sharp rise in the morning to a trading error. The Hang Seng Index closed 49.81 points, or 0.39 per cent, firmer at 12,758.88 after touching a high of 13,019.09 in the morning. Analysts said there was continued speculation that Hutchison Whampoa could be in talks with United States group Global Crossing, perhaps in relation to a Hong Kong joint-venture project. Global Crossing provides Internet and long distance telecommunications facilities and services. It uses a network of undersea digital fibre-optic cable systems. Hutchison and associate Cheung Kong made solid gains yesterday, together adding 56 points to the benchmark. Hutchison's Israeli joint-venture mobile telephone network Partner Communications, which raised US$525 million through an initial public offering on the Nasdaq and London stock exchanges on Wednesday, saw its share price close 20.37 per cent higher on the first day of trade in New York. Many brokers attributed the sharp rise in the morning session in Hong Kong to a purported trading error by a Japanese investment bank. While there were many versions of the rumour, the most common perception was that the broker had sent through an erroneously large sell order in Wednesday's trade and was forced to buy back the stock yesterday. 'This is why there was such a pop in the morning,' a sales trader at a European bank said. However, a spokesman at the brokerage in question denied there was a mistake. 'It was so-called technical selling,' the spokesman said. 'They [the client] locked in profits [on a large short position] and then they bought it back . . . it wasn't a mistake.' China Telecom (Stock Split, Page 12) was among the most active counters in the morning session, rising to a high of HK$25.25 before closing 0.2 per cent higher at $24.70 before raising US$2 billion through a share placement. Hutchison rose 2.64 per cent to end at HK$77.50, while Cheung Kong climbed 2.62 per cent to settle at $68.50. '[Hutchison] has its own reasons for going up, with the successful listing of Partner, so that was part of it,' an ABN Amro trader said. The market was also buzzing with speculation that Global Crossing executives were in Hong Kong to talk to Hutchison. 'I spoke to a few clients and the Global Crossing people have been in town,' a trader said. Hutchison's cash position is strong after a series of fund-raising exercises this year, most recently the sale of its stake in British mobile telephone firm Orange to German group Mannesmann. 'It would make a lot of sense for Hutchison to make an acquisition [in the US],' another broker said. 'Hutchison could afford it. Global Crossing does not have landing rights in Hong Kong and someone is going to get that and Hutchison has a big war chest.' Sun Hung Kai Properties was the day's third largest index mover, rising 2.13 per cent to $59.75. The company has formed a partnership with Microsoft to develop information technology and property opportunities. The companies said their first joint project would help create a new generation of 'intelligent' commercial properties.