Property stocks dropped sharply yesterday as investment bankers downgraded the sector but a bounce in mainland technology shares stemmed overall losses. The Hang Seng Index shed 0.62 per cent to 14,902.46 points. The properties sub-index fell a steeper 3.67 per cent, with Henderson Land and Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) each shedding more than 6 per cent after two overseas brokerage houses put decisive sells on the sector. 'Sun Hung Kai in particular was under huge selling pressure. If you take a look, it was the highest turnover since 1998 when the Government came into the market,' Pacific Challenge Securities research director Ricky Tam Siu-hing said. SHKP shares worth HK$959.44 million changed hands yesterday, about five times the recent average and the heaviest since the intervention in August 1998. Salomon Smith Barney and UBS Warburg both issued notes in the past two days recommending investors sell the sector after recent weak property project launches. For UBS, it was an abrupt change in policy; the brokerage was talking up the sector earlier in the week before property research head Franklin Lam decided government policy would actually doom the sector by creating too much supply. Mr Lam changed his recommendation from strong buy to sell on Thursday. He said his growing pessimism crystallised after opening a newspaper on Tuesday and seeing a picture of a 270-degree harbour-view club house site which the Housing Authority planned to add to its Home Ownership Scheme. Ambitious residential production targets and plans to sell the Tamar site for office use were among supply-boosting plans that 'have heightened the average person's suspicion of a chaotic lands policy', Mr Lam said. Banks followed the poor performance of developers as HSBC shed 0.46 per cent to $107.50 after a 2.7 per cent loss on Thursday following a downgrade by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. Technology, telecommunications and China stocks rose after a rebound on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Thursday. Of the five top percentage gainers in the Hang Seng Index, four were mainland-related and three had substantial technology investments. Salomon Smith Barney sales trading head Jonathan Gurnsey said: 'Our advice is that you want to start getting money back into tech and [telecoms].'