MARKET players remain upbeat about the stock market following the long overdue consolidation last week. Brokers believed that the market has not lost its attractiveness and buying spree would return in the coming weeks. They expected firm support between 8,500 and 8,600 this week and at that level it would be well placed to resume its upward trend. The 15th round of Sino-British political talks, the last talks before a crucial ministerial meeting in London, is due to begin this Wednesday. PBI Securities expected that the market was poised for another bull run as politics was becoming a diminishing factor. However, a breakthrough or visible progress, more possible after a cordial 14th round of talks, would definitely help push the market further up, the securities house said. Last week also saw some switching within the index's constituent counters. Profit-taking hit the utility sector while the finance sector was affected by HSBC's $1.1 billion provision for the Samuel Montague litigation. Local investors also began moving into second-and third-liners, such as Pacific Concord, Orient Telecom and Shougang group of companies. Trading volume declined, reflecting that the market has been liquidity driven. The Hang Sang Index reached a record high of 9,031.13 on Monday. Blue chips and other commercial and industrial constituent stocks were the driving forces as reflected in the 5.11 per cent rise in the commercial and industrial sub-index. Profit-taking emerged on Tuesday wiping almost 170 points off the index as selling concentrated on the finance and utility counters. The high turnover of $9.04 billion indicated that the two-week record breaking rally that took the index up 19.6 per cent in 13 trading days was over. On Wednesday, the market rebounded, led by the property counters. Henderson Land rose $1.50 to $31 amid rumours of Hong Kong Ferry's Central terminal redevelopment. Interest in second and third liners increased with counters Henderson Investment, Pacific Concord and Dickson Concepts being traded actively. Cautious mood prevailed the next two days as the index fell past the 8,800 barrier to close at 8,719.32 on a turnover of $5.58 billion on Friday. Despite the correction in the cash market, futures market remained buoyant with the October index futures contract ending at 8,735 points, 16 above the spot.