Hong Kong stocks ended moderately higher yesterday on strength in favourites Hutchison and Cheung Kong after a day of volatile trade. The Hang Seng Index rose 45.33 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 15,422.52 on a turnover of $10.55 billion. Analysts said confirmation of a rumour that Japanese cellphone giant NTT Mobile Communications Network (NTT DoCoMo) was to take a minority stake in Hutchison's mobile unit, Hutchison Telecom, drove the two Li Ka-shing companies higher. 'I think what we saw early in the day is that someone knew about the Hutchison [confirmation] before anyone else did,' ABN Amro sales trader MaryBeth McNamara said. DBS Securities international sales vice-president Geoff Galbraith said: 'It was a Hutchison story . . . with a few sprinkles of hi-tech.' Cheung Kong closed 3.43 per cent higher at $90.25 and Hutchison gained 2.61 per cent to $98. Blue chips generally made small moves, brokers said, and a recent surge in top performer China Telecom was curbed as it finished 2.63 per cent lower at $40.60. BNP Prime Peregrine sales director Jason Ho Ka-keung said: 'The tone of the market is still a consolidation tone.' Heavyweight HSBC came off 0.97 per cent to $102. South China Brokerage vice-chairman Howard Gorges said: 'It was mixed but there was not a lot of movement. There is a bit of buying around when they're easing and a bit of selling around on the strength . . . it could go a couple of 100 points on some news that could tilt it either way.' The HSBC downturn was the result of a rise in United States bond yields to as high as 6.32 per cent, dealers said. It also reflected the bank's poor close in London on Tuesday, down 49 pence to GBP8.09. Kim Eng Securities research head Stephen Brown said: 'That is putting a cap on financial stocks.' The weaker performance from the larger financial counters could last until tomorrow, when US non-farm payroll data was released, he said. The mortgage wars could also negatively affect the banks. Price competition on residential mortgages heated up further after Bank of East Asia (BEA) and Standard Chartered on Tuesday announced revised home loan packages. BEA shares dropped 1.06 per cent to $18.50 and Dah Sing shed 1.51 per cent to $32.40. Property counter Henderson Land had a good day on reports it planned to boost property sales to $20 billion next year (Stock Split, 12). Soon-to-be blue chip SmarTone declined 3.14 per cent to $36.90 after an impressive run on the news of its inclusion into the Hang Seng Index. Ms McNamara yesterday said the downturn could be in response to Hutchison's deal with NTT DoCoMo. 'If Hutchison has just got the world's largest mobile telephone company [to invest in it], then they're [Hutchison] much better poised to take advantage of the regional [market] and that will hurt competitors,' she said. Selected second-liner telecommunications and high-technology plays continued to move yesterday, including Internet hopeful China Prosperity which jumped 19.26 per cent to $3.25. Sources were in the dark on reasons. E-New Media moved up 15.21 per cent to $2.65 on its potential Internet software licence, brokers said. Ms McNamara said: 'People are looking for the next mover in the tech story.' In the broader market, Quality HealthCare gained 1.58 per cent to $3.20 after the only listed medical services group in Hong Kong said it would exercise the option to acquire three homes for the elderly. 'The companies with a high return on capital [such as] . . . Quality HealthCare have outperformed the [index] this year,' Mr Brown said. 'These types of companies have performed and will continue to do so.'