THE Hang Seng Index finally paused for breath yesterday, shedding 59.9 points to close at 7,545.36 as investors locked in profits from blue chips, which had pushed the market to four record-breaking days. HSBC Holdings and Hang Seng Bank lost some of the ground they had gained in recent days on profit-taking. HSBC Holdings was off $1.50 to $83.50 on high turnover of $442.53 million while Hang Seng Bank slipped $3.50 to $57.50 on turnover of $537.23 million. Combined, both stocks shaved 60.47 points from the index. Brokers said investors were disappointed with the results of Hang Seng Bank, which reported a 17.5 per cent interim profit increase to $2.74 billion. Nomura Research head of research Clive Weedon said: ''People started to worry about the banking sector and they then decided to sell HSBC on the back of Hang Seng Bank results.'' But Mr Weedon said it was ridiculous to think HSBC was not going to have good earnings on account of the Hang Seng Bank result. He said: ''The two companies are two completely different animals. Hang Seng Bank's only impact on HSBC is that its contribution to [HSBC] may be slightly less. Apart from that, I expect HSBC to do extremely well when it reports its earnings.'' The finance sector dropped 232.3 points to 7,419.9. Barclays de Zoete Wedd sales manager Nial Gooding said if the finance sector had not fallen, the market would not have moved much. ''All the points taken off the index were in the finance sector,'' he said. When trading opened in the morning, the index lost 95 points after 15 minutes. It hit an intra-day low of 7,504.26. The market picked up in the afternoon with turnover swelling to $5.09 billion. Morgan Grenfell institutional salesman Stuart Gregory said investors had returned in the afternoon and many of them had snapped up HSBC because they saw it as a buying opportunity after its morning fall. ''The market should have gone off lower but it didn't because buyers returned to cut the losses of the day,'' he said. Brokers said there were many who switched from Hang Seng Bank to HSBC. OCBC Securities senior manager of institutional sales Philip Leung said a large number of investors had been reluctant to enter the market yesterday because they did not want to be exposed over the weekend. Cheung Kong rose 40 cents to $28.30 following Thursday's announcement of a 94.5 per cent rise in profits to $4.53 billion for the first half of the year, with the bulk coming from property, associate Hutchison Whampoa and its cement operations. Mr Leung said Cheung Kong's strong performance had generated interest in property stocks and buying interest had been renewed. ''The focus will now shift from the finance sector to the property sector and I expect people to now look for good property stocks, especially those which had lagged behind in the market,'' he said. Henderson Land rose 20 cents to $21.50 while New World increased 40 cents to $20.80. Hutchison gained 10 cents to $23 after reporting an interim profit of $2.51 billion, compared with a loss of $78 million in 1992. Hongkong Telecom, which had lagged behind the market before starring on Wednesday and Thursday, remained unchanged at $11.90. Hongkong Electric, another former laggard now being pursued by investors, added 40 cents to $19.50. Red chip Kader Investment jumped $2.75 to $39.50 on speculative buying. Allied Group was once more heavily traded but its price remained unchanged at $1.11. Cathay Pacific dropped 10 cents to $10.80 ahead of its interim results on Wednesday, when brokers expect unfavourable results following a cabin crew strike this year. That could have an impact on its parent, Swire Pacific, which dropped 50 cents to $40.75.