Hong Kong shares fell deeper into negative territory yesterday amid cautious trade, with investors now waiting for direction after a sell-off in the technology sector. The Hang Seng Index slid 167.52 points, or 0.98 per cent, to end at 16,929.16. Turnover was $12.78 billion, the lowest this year and less than the daily average of $19.4 billion since the beginning of January. The subdued trading came a day after the market dropped 4.12 per cent amid an Asian-wide disposal of Internet and telecommunications counters on fears they are overvalued. Significant drops in Japanese technology plays such as Hikari Tsushin and Softbank Corp fuelled the rout. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.18 per cent but the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index dived 2.8 per cent. 'There is a little uneasiness. The market has come to a certain level and investors are waiting for direction,' Dao Heng Securities deputy head of institutional sales Geoff Galbraith said. '[Direction] would come from Nasdaq and the [share movements in] Hikari Tsushin and Softbank,' he said. Nevertheless, China Telecom - responsible for half of the Hang Seng Index's loss of 735.18 points on Monday - came back slightly yesterday, to finish 1.11 per cent stronger at $67.75. Weighing on the index yesterday were Hutchison, which slipped as much as $10 during trade before closing down $7, or 4.84 per cent, at $137.50. Cheung Kong declined 3.73 per cent to $103. SmarTone Telecommunications tumbled 9.62 per cent to $31. The company yesterday reported a net loss of $393.59 million for the first half to December 31, compared to a $480.47 million profit in the previous corresponding period. There was some buying interest in traditional blue chips, including Cheung Kong Infrastructure, Henderson Land and Sino Land. Brokers said trade was additionally cautious ahead of the Taiwanese presidential election on Saturday, the outcome of which could further hamper Taiwan-mainland relations. Interest rate sensitive data is due out of the United States this week and this could also keep a lid on strong gains. The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates again when its meets on March 21. 'We think it will be quiet like this for a couple of weeks because of Taiwan, and some cash has been pocketed as some fund managers think that tech stocks are quite expensive,' BNP Paribas Peregrine sales director Jason Ho said. Daiwa Securities vice-president of Asian equity Michael Liang said it was a classic wait-and-see approach to the market yesterday. 'We have still got the recent sell-off overhang and investors are not really keen to get in, and the sellers are waiting for a better price. By and large, the market will be in consolidation for at the least two weeks and at the most a few months,' Mr Liang said. In the broader market, brokers said there were rumours that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp was looking to take a stake in Ankor, a company that has exclusive distribution rights to sell Saab motor vehicles in Hong Kong and the mainland. Ankor chairman Lars Agell said he could not comment on the speculation. H shares bucked the trend to end 2.37 per cent firmer.