Hong Kong stocks fell back through the 10,000-point level after the United States and British air strikes against Afghanistan, but analysts described the selling as profit-taking rather than panic. The Hang Seng Index slid 3.01 per cent to 9,967.83 yesterday on turnover of HK$6.77 billion. 'If it was a normal 'go in there, shoot everything up and get out' [situation] then I would expect the market to rally quite strongly, but the issue here is that this is a very unconventional theatre,' said Merrill Lynch regional strategist Dio Wong. With Tokyo's stock exchange closed for a holiday and US markets still on their weekend break, analysts said Hong Kong markets were effectively rudderless. The ripple effect of Sunday night's attacks were felt across Asia as regional bourses slumped on opening. Singapore's Straits Times Index ended the day down 2.71 per cent while Indonesia fell 4.5 per cent. Pakistan's benchmark index the Karachi-100 fell 3.35 per cent. China's share markets slipped on their first day of trading after the week-long holidays with Shanghai B shares off 0.67 per cent and the Shenzhen B-share Index down 2.18 per cent. Key European markets all closed down about 0.8 per cent yesterday, while at midday trading in New York the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.12 per cent and the Nasdaq rose 0.27 per per cent. The air strikes followed a military and diplomatic build-up by the US and Britain of an international coalition against terrorism. They also mark the end of something of an Indian summer for global markets, which had been stabilising after the lurches triggered by the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11. Analysts in Hong Kong said the long-awaited reprisals had triggered an opportunity for profit-taking. 'The Hang Seng had a pretty good run up and now, with this attack, some investors have cashed in and are waiting for the dust to settle before reformulating their investment strategies,' GK Goh Securities research director Chu Siu Wah said. The Hang Seng Index closed last Friday just 1.34 per cent below its pre-September 11 level, having staged a 15.03 per cent rebound from a trough of 8,934.2 on September 21. The blue chips dominated losses in Hong Kong yesterday, with HSBC Holdings and China Mobile - the largest stocks by market weighting - helping drag the index down. HSBC fell 1.78 per cent to HK$83 while China Mobile shed 6.79 per cent to close at HK$23.35. Exporters were also in the firing line, with micro-motor manufacturer Johnson Electric tumbling 5.66 per cent to HK$7.50 while outsourcing play Li & Fung slipped 6.59 per cent to HK$7.80. Oil companies bucked the trend as investors reacted to fears of supply disruptions in the Middle East. Blue chip CNOOC climbed 2 per cent to HK$7.65 while rival PetroChina climbed 1.39 per cent to HK$1.46. Property stocks were also hit two days before the annual policy address by the Government. Speculation had been building that Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa would announce a series of measures to kick start the beleaguered property sector. The relatively quick recovery of global markets following the outbreak of the Gulf War has been cited by many analysts seeking a historical precedent. But Mr Wong said the US Federal Reserve would be unable to respond with aggressive interest rate cuts as it had done in 1991. 'That's the immediate panacea - now in the US we're down to 2.5 per cent and we've entered maximum uncertainty and the rate cuts are behind us so we don't have this panacea,' he said.