THE local market is expected to seesaw between 9,000 points and 9,500 points, depending on the tug-of-war between American and Japanese securities firms, brokers say. Japanese firms are believed to have poured money into the market when the Hang Seng was between 9,500 and 9,700 points and are expected to stay put despite the sudden pull-out of American funds. On Thursday, news of Morgan Stanley's reduction on its Hong Kong market exposure triggered a free-all of 341 points. Bargain hunting later pushed the index back up on the back of the North American Free Trade (NAFTA) approval news, lifting the index to 9,454 points. ''Currently, the support level is at 9,100 points. But it's difficult to say since the running battle between the two forces [buying and selling] have only just started,'' said Josephine Hui Suet-ming, senior investment manager of Forex Group. Brokers also said the injection of US$300 million into the market by the Yamaichi and Nikko Fund would not be of much help. Ms Hui said that China Plays would remain good performers in the coming week. ''The second and third liners will not be affected by the tug-of-war since they are not the [Hang Seng] constituent stocks,'' she said. The index ended down 71.49 points on Friday, or 0.77 per cent, to 9,263.94. Turnover dwindled to $6.6 billion from Thursday's final tally of $8.14 billion. The 16th round of Sino-British talks started in Beijing on Friday and many investors are staying on the sidelines for any signs of progress. On Monday, a flood of profit-taking pushed the index down hundred points, but positive sentiment stimulated buying interest when reports of the end of austerity measures in China came up. The index closed at 9,733 points, up 32 points after a major buying and selling tug-of-war. The marked dived on Tuesday after a weak overnight London performance and profit-taking earlier in the trading day. Some brokers suggested the initial steep plunge had been fuelled by concern that some companies might take advantage of the bull run to raise funds. But sentiment still remained positive despite the moderate index loss. The index ended down 49 points, toclose at 9,983 on turnover of $8.52 billion. The news that Morgan Stanley was reducing its Hong Kong's weighting resulted in profit-taking driving the index down to 9,335, a fall of 171 points from Wednesday's close.