Merger hopes for Internet heavyweight Pacific Century CyberWorks yesterday added some spark to an overcast day's trading cut short by a storm warning. The Hang Seng Index stumbled to a loss of 65.21 points, or 0.4 per cent, late in the session to close at 16,055.05. CyberWorks grabbed 18.4 per cent of the HK$8.96 billion turnover for a day delayed by an hour in the morning after a black rain warning was hoisted. Investors bet CyberWorks will be able to complete a merger with Cable & Wireless HKT and break out on the sunny side of a trading range the deal has locked it in. CyberWorks rose 7.49 per cent to $16.50. Investors also bid up HKT, which closed 3.86 per cent stronger at $18.80. 'People are feeling that it is quite unlikely that anyone else will come in and bid,' said Pacific Challenge Securities research head Alan Hutcheson. Shareholders of HKT's parent, Britain's Cable & Wireless, are to meet today to consider CyberWorks' offer in a key milestone on the way to a scheduled completion of the deal on August 10. The merged entity is likely to be included in the Hang Seng Index, causing some institutional investors who have shunned CyberWorks as a speculative play to buy the stock. 'The performance of 1186 resulted in a little bit more interest in some of the other hi-tech stocks,' said James So, head of research at Asia Financial Securities, referring to CyberWorks' stock code. Softbank Investment rose 20.65 per cent to $2.775 and Hikari Tsushin International was up 12.28 per cent at 64 cents. The market was less impressed with a report in Britain's Independent newspaper which quoted an investment banker as saying HSBC would merge with United States investment bank Merrill Lynch within two years. HSBC denied the rumour, and the stock ended 0.27 per cent firmer at $91.50. 'HSBC has been linked with various firms in the past, so this is not very surprising,' said John Lau of Nomura Securities. Wai Kee was suspended yesterday pending an announcement on the sale of its 49 per cent stake in Road King. The mainland tollway operator was also suspended. Wai Kee was trading at a market capitalisation of $400 million, while its stake in Road King was valued at $900 million, Mr Hutcheson said. Wai Kee's wholly owned construction unit Zen Pacific is the main contractor involved in the Sha Tin piling scandal. The Housing Authority may impose heavy penalties on Zen Pacific at a meeting on Saturday. 'Cash-wise they might need to raise some money in the short term,' Mr Hutcheson said. Many investors were happy to sit on the sidelines before a series of key figures due to be released in the US this week which should give a clearer picture of whether interest rate rises are cooling the economy. Retail sales figures for last month are due out today, the consumer price index is due out tomorrow and industrial capacity utilisation is out on Thursday.