In an otherwise quiet day on the Hong Kong stock market yesterday, small-cap retailers drew strong buying interest from investors pinning their hopes on improved consumer sentiment and the disappearance of deflation in the territory. The Hong Kong government announced last Friday that the composite consumer price index (CPI) for June eased by 0.1 per cent year on year, compared with a year-on-year fall of 0.9 per cent in May. Market observers said the trend reflected steadily improving price momentum and expected the CPI to turn positive in the short term. 'Deflation just disappeared in Hong Kong ... and consumer sentiment now is getting much better,' said Nicholas Toovey, a senior analyst at ING Investment Management Asia Pacific. One fund last Friday bought 20 million shares, or 2.59 per cent of the total share capital, in fashion chain retailer Bossini International from majority shareholder Law Ka-sing at $2.30 each - a 9.5 per cent premium to Bossini's closing price of $2.10 on Thursday, according to a market source. It was a sharp-eyed move. Shares in Bossini rose 11.46 per cent to $2.675 yesterday, extending a gain of 14.29 per cent on Friday. Other small-cap retail fashion stocks also fared well yesterday. Their generally poor liquidity enhanced the impact of each purchase. Moiselle International jumped 18.94 per cent to $1.57, Veeko International rose 13.82 per cent to 28 cents and Le Saunda Holdings leapt 21.21 per cent to 77 cents.