A slump by vehicle maker Brilliance China on reports of a management crisis enlivens an otherwise dull day Hong Kong stocks fell in another quiet day of trade yesterday as investors opted to stay on the sidelines before seeing interim results announcements from index heavyweights HSBC and Hang Seng Bank after the market close. Investors also feared persistently high crude oil prices would dampen global growth and were wary following warnings over possible terrorist attacks on financial industry targets in the United States. The Hang Seng Index fell as much as 106 points in early trade before closing at 12,201.39, a loss of 36.64 points or 0.29 per cent from the Friday finish. The H-share index dropped 31.07 points or 0.71 per cent to 4,304.26. Trading was quiet with turnover just exceeding $8 billion. 'Everyone now is just waiting for the results from HSBC and Hang Seng Bank,' one broker said. 'It was another unexciting day - except for Brilliance China.' Shares in vehicle maker Brilliance China plunged 8.2 per cent to $1.79, their lowest level since June last year, following reports of a management crisis in the company. Trading was hectic, with 203 million shares changing hands compared with 59 million shares on Friday. Four Brilliance China executives - including chairman Wu Xiaoan, vice-chairman Hong Xing, president and chief executive Su Qiang and chief financial officer He Tao - were reported to have resigned after selling their shares in the firm. But Brilliance China's spokeswoman in Hong Kong yesterday denied the reports. 'It was purely an unfounded rumour, there is no resignation,' she said. 'They are having a meeting in Shenyang.' She also clarified a mainland report on disposal of the company's shares. She confirmed that some 14.5 million shares were sold recently by chief executive Su Qiang, but not the other directors. A fund manager said the vehicle maker also confirmed the 346 million share options held by senior management had not been exercised even though the options, representing 9.4 per cent of outstanding shares in the company, were deep in the money at an exercise price of 95 cents. But these clarifications seemed to offer little comfort to investors. 'I think the share price will remain volatile and sentiment will continue to be weak in the near term in anticipation of poor interim results due [next month],' the fund manager said. The negative sentiment on Brilliance China spilt over to other mainland vehicle makers. Denway Motors lost 0.85 per cent to $2.90 while AviChina Industry & Technology, a maker of minivans and helicopters, dropped 5.55 per cent to 85 cents. Banking plays were on investors' selling lists with some opting to take profits before the results announcements yesterday. Hang Seng Bank fell 0.75 per cent to $99 while HSBC closed flat at $115. After market close yesterday, both banks posted results beating the market's consensus. Hang Seng Bank said interim profits rose 24 per cent year on year while HSBC saw a 55 per cent rise in interim net profits. Bank of East Asia lost 2.94 per cent to $21.45, extending its loss of 3.07 per cent last Friday, after the local bank reported full-year results which were at the low end of analysts' expectations. Airlines succumbed to overhang of high jet-fuel costs after the crude price touched a fresh high on fears of a protracted production shutdown for Russian producer Yukos. The terror alert for financial institutions in the US aggravated oil price rises. September crude oil rose as high as US$43.92 per barrel in offshore Nymex trade yesterday, the highest intraday price since the futures began trading in 1983, before slipping in early New York trade, Bloomberg data showed. China Southern Airlines shed 3.73 per cent to $2.575, China Eastern Airlines dropped 2.53 per cent to $1.54, while Cathay Pacific fell 1.43 per cent to $13.70. Exporters were also hit on concerns over slower spending by US consumers, who would be faced by high fuel bills. Fashion chain retailer Esprit lost 0.57 per cent to $34.50 while global sourcing agent Li & Fung was unchanged at $10.80. CNOOC, the mainland offshore oil producer, bucked the market and rose 1.33 per cent to $3.80 in response to the high crude prices. PCCW lost 0.93 per cent to $5.30. Some brokers were concerned PCCW could face more competition after rival City Telecom on Sunday said it would launch broadband telephone services, allowing it to reach 75 per cent of the market, up from the present 60 per cent.