China Mobile leads the way as index inches higher; analysts say slump seen as too severe The Hang Seng Index rebounded slightly yesterday after a near 600-point slide in the previous five days, supported by index heavyweight China Mobile and New World Development which saw a delayed positive reaction to its forecast-beating full-year result. Observers said the rebound was underpinned by a perception that the market had dropped too rapidly in the past couple of sessions together with the fact that the Hang Seng Index was now close to the upper end of a support area between 14,600 and 14,800 points. Linus Yip, a strategist with First Shanghai Securities, expected the Hang Seng Index to find a bottom at 14,700 points which coincides with the low of a previous retreat in August and an upward trend-line dating back to the 2003 trough during Sars. Yesterday, the benchmark index finished up 8.49 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 14,847.79 after a roller-coaster day that saw it move in a 100-point range between 14,798.91 and 14,899.23. Turnover shrank to $18.53 billion from $26.02 billion on Thursday which brokers said was a clear indication that a lot of people were staying on the sidelines waiting for a clearer indication of where the market will head next. The US non-farm payroll data, which was due for release late yesterday, would be closely watched for further hints of how the Federal Reserve may proceed in its tightening campaign while the fact that US and Japanese markets will be closed on Monday added to the uncertainty, they said. China Mobile rebounded 1.14 per cent to $35.35 after a 6.97 per cent slide in the past week. New World Development led the gainers, jumping 4.62 per cent to $10.20 after it reported a better than expected net profit of $2.98 billion for the year to June on Thursday. However, New World's flying colours failed to bring support to other property players. Henderson Land Development fell 1.46 per cent to $37, Cheung Kong dropped 0.24 per cent to $83.55 and Sun Hung Kai Properties inched down 0.19 per cent to $77.15. Andes Cheng, associate director with South China Research, said some blue-chip property stocks had already outperformed the market for a while and fully reflected positive factors such as low real interest rates and last week's better-than-expected land auction result. 'It is more likely that property counters will trade within narrow ranges than that they will see another sharp rally in the near future,' he said. Banking stocks saw a mixed performance. BOC (Hong Kong) and Bank of East Asia finished higher while HSBC and its subsidiary Hang Seng Bank fell. HSBC gave up 0.16 per cent to $123.70 and Hang Seng lost 0.29 per cent to $102.50. Bank of Communications, which had come under selling pressure with the approach of China Construction Bank's mega offering, rebounded 1.57 per cent to $3.225. The counter had fallen 1.52 per cent in the past week. CNOOC was the worst blue chip performer, sliding 2.91 per cent to $5. The company was publicly censured by the stock exchange listing committee on Thursday for selective disclosure. The H-share index ended the day at 5,055.08, up 7.80 points or 0.15 per cent, mainly stimulated by Bocom's recovery. Zijin Mining was the best H-share index performer, surging 4.04 per cent to $2.575 after spot gold prices added more than US$8 per ounce in New York on Thursday, compared with where it was at the time of the Hong Kong close. It hit a high of US$474.15 in the early morning as fund managers continued to eye the precious metal as a hedge against inflation and then hovered between US$427.50 and US$473 for the rest of the session. Jiangxi Copper, which also has gold mining operations, rose 1.89 per cent to $4.05.