DESPITE a lack of progress in the ninth round of Sino-British talks yesterday, the Hang Seng Index climbed 39.3 points to a record high of 7,528.79. The index, which closed above 7,500 points for the first time, has now jumped 37.69 per cent or 2,060.9 points this year. Brokers said yesterday's rise was attributable to market expectations of strong interim results from Hutchison Whampoa, Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hang Seng Bank tomorrow. Cheung Kong traded actively, falling 10 cents to $27.90, Hutchison edged up 10 cents to $23 while Hang Seng Bank was unchanged at $62. HSBC Holdings, which will release its interim results on August 31, was the best performer with a $1.50 jump to $85.50. HSBC shares have now risen $9.50, or 12.5 per cent, since its Midland Bank unit announced better-than-expected results earlier this month. Wharf (Holdings) helped investor sentiment by announcing a 44.2 per cent jump in interim profits. The stock rose 20 cents to $20.60. Seapower Securities research director Samuel Lau Kwok-leung said investors were cautiously optimistic. He said it was possible the index could hit 7,600 points by the end of next week. ''The market should go higher if there is no bad news,'' he said.