PetroChina looked pretty lonely among the large-caps yesterday as it bucked the broad-based sell-off. The oil producer gained 1.58 per cent to $6.40 on news its mainland parent firm had outbid an Indian rival for a Canadian company with oil resources in Kazakhstan. Once the acquisition is completed, the assets are expected to be included into a planned 50-50 joint venture between PetroChina and its parent firm, which could boost the listed unit's production output, analysts said. The optimism surrounding the deal overshadowed persistent rumours that PetroChina was about to place new shares or that high-profile investor Warren Buffett was about to sell his shares in the company, allowing the share price to edge higher for the first day in six. Not many other major stocks were up on the day as the correction that began last Thursday gathered pace after the lunch break. The Hang Seng Index fell 244.74 points, or 1.61 per cent, to 14,973.89, breaking through the 20-day moving average in the process. All but three blue chips fell. Meanwhile, 33 of the 37 H-share index stocks fell, leaving the index down 40.86 points, or 0.78 per cent, at 5,209.7. Trading volumes rose to $24.1 billion after dipping below $20 billion on Monday for the first time in 10 days. PetroChina, which is expected to post strong interim earnings today, was the most actively traded stock in terms of value. 'The market needs some correction and 300 points is not enough,' said Jojo Choy, a sales director with BOCI Commodities and Futures. 'The [Hang Seng Index] will move down quickly, as people are waiting for the price to go down closer to 14,700-14,800 before they start buying again.' Yesterday's decline was led by Hutchison and Cheung Kong after Citigroup's downgrade of the pair to a 'sell' recommendation. Hutchison dropped 3.85 per cent to $76.10, while Cheung Kong slipped 3.35 per cent to $82.15. Both companies are due to report six-month earnings tomorrow. China Mobile, which led the market rebound on Monday on the back of solid subscriber data, fell 3.14 per cent yesterday to $33.85. The mobile operator accounted for 28 per cent of the index drop. HSBC held up comparatively well, losing 0.7 per cent to $126. Due to Cheung Kong's heavy weighting, the property sub-index underperformed the HSI with a 2.29 per cent decline but the other sector giant - Sun Hung Kai Properties - fared better, even if it did fall with the broader market in the afternoon. 'Every time it goes down, people start buying,' Mr Choy said. The developer ended 1.86 per cent lower at $79.15 but contrary to most other stocks, which finished near their intraday lows, SHKP settled $1.25 above the day's trough. In general, property developers were expected to remain under pressure until a government land auction late next month, which should provide fresh clues about how optimistic the developers were with regard to the strength of the property market. CLP ended unchanged at $45.50 after posting a 10.6 per cent rise in first-half net profit. One broker referred to the report as 'okay, but unexciting'. Fellow power producer Hongkong Electric was the only blue chip to finish higher, adding 0.13 per cent to $37.75. Yanzhou Coal Mining was the worst H-share performer - down 4.83 per cent to $5.90 - on news it would miss its sales targets this year as the relocation of villagers to make room for mining projects had proved more difficult than expected. Aluminum Corp of China, which said on Monday that earnings would be flat for the year due to higher electricity costs, dropped 2.77 per cent to $4.375. China Mengniu Dairy gained 1.72 per cent to $5.90 after it posted a 34 per cent rise in first-half profit to 246.5 million yuan thanks to improved sales of flavoured milk and increased production.