THE Hang Seng Index continued to break records yesterday, crashing through the 7,600-point barrier for the first time as US and European investors aggressively snapped up shares. The index, which rose 44.29 points to close at 7,605.26 yesterday, has jumped 2,092.9 points or 37.9 per cent this year, making it one of the world's most vibrant stock markets. Brokers said the largest factors were the wave of money from foreign institutional investors and expectations of strong interim results from blue-chip stocks such as Hutchison Whampoa, Hang Seng Bank and Cheung Kong (Holdings). ''It's the same old thing we've seen for a very long time: the Americans are buying, buying, buying,'' said Nomura Research director Clive Weedon. ''Fund managers seeing large amounts of money are going into mutual funds over there, which means these guys have to spend their money, and Hong Kong is sexy.'' Mr Weedon said he expected the index to climb close to 8,000 points by year-end before jumping to 8,400 next April. SBCI Derivatives salesman James Vinall said the large role played by foreign investors could easily be seen in London, where prices of Hong Kong stocks over the past 10 days had been aggressively pushed up. ''Every morning when we come into the office and see where the Hong Kong stocks have closed in London, the prices there have been the opening prices in Hong Kong,'' he said. ''London has been setting the pace.'' Mr Vinall said the resurgence in foreign interest had caused a lot of local investors, who had been selling stock, to take another look at the market and where it should be trading.