THE listing of Tsingtao Brewery gave the lacklustre market a gentle nudge yesterday, with the Hang Seng Index rising 23.04 points to 6,978.54. Turnover was $3.77 billion, with Tsingtao accounting for 16.5 per cent or $623.9 million. Despite the brewery's highly publicised debut, brokers said the market remained uninspired due to the lack of political and corporate news. ''I think it is an extremely dull market and I would expect it to drift lower,'' said Nomura Research director Clive Weedon. ''I see it as being very difficult buying into this market with the prevailing uncertainties.'' Vickers Ballas research manager Raymond Ho said the lack of news about Sino-British discussions and China's economic situation had left the market drifting sideways. ''I think the market is still a little bit nervous and a lot of investors are on the sidelines, waiting to see what develops in the Chinese economy,'' he said. Tsingtao, which closed at $3.60 after hitting an intra-day high $3.675, had a spin-off effect of attracting speculators to the red-chip sector. This was evident from the appearance of four mainland-controlled stocks on the trading volume list which had been dominated recently by blue chips. Tung Wing Steel was the second-most active stock, with turnover of $176.7 million, jumping 12.1 per cent or 65 cents to $6. Kader Investment continued to rally, rising six per cent or $1.40 to $24.70, while Eastern Century was up another 15 cents to $3.875. Among the blue-chip stocks, HAECO was among the biggest net gainers with a 75-cent jump to $31.50. HSBC Holdings edged up 50 cents to $74 and Hang Seng Bank rose 50 cents to $58. Cheung Kong was unchanged at $25.30, ending a string of eight consecutive daily declines. Sun Hung Kai Properties lost another 25 cents to $37.75 despite strong market response to its Sea Crest Villa development. The property sub-index was the only sector to decline, losing 13.94 points to 10,882.02. The utilities sector was stronger, with China Light & Power up 50 cents to $39.25, Hongkong & China Gas gaining 20 cents to $14 and Hongkong Telecom rising 10 cents to $10.30 on heavy volume. Baring Securities director James Osborn said there would probably be more interest in utility stocks, which have failed to keep up with the market, as investors looked for stock with defensive exposure. Magnificent Estates posted the biggest drop, tumbling 33.6 per cent or 15.5 cents to 30.5 cents after it announced a $148.6 million rights offering on Wednesday at 28 cents a share. The stock has now dropped 55 per cent since June 29. Shun Ho Construction, which owns 46.7 per cent of Magnificent Estates, fell 9.2 per cent or 17 cents to $1.67. Shun Ho and Shun Ho Resources Holdings issued a joint press release yesterday denying they would issue rights shares. Watchmaker Asia Commercial Holdings also sank after unveiling plans for a $208.25 million rights issue and a 62.5 per cent drop in profits on Wednesday night. The stock fell 23 per cent or 18 cents to 60 cents. Asia Commercial's two-for-five rights issue will allow shareholders to buy new shares at 49 cents each. Mr Ho said there were many investors attempting to determine which company might be the next to issue rights because they were concerned about the sharp stock price drops that followed announcements of capital raising plans. Rhine Holdings, which makes, wholesales and exports jewellery, lost some of its lustre with a 7.9 per cent or nine-cent drop to $1.04. Rhine, which started trading on Wednesday, is now trading only four cents above its issue price. Cafe de Coral continued to regain lost ground with a 30-cent climb to $4.80, reversing a decline that had seen the stock drop 25 per cent in a month.