Profit takers put the brakes on the Hang Seng Index for the second day running yesterday, arresting the stellar run that has taken the index to fresh highs, although sentiment remains strong. The blue-chip index edged up 0.52 per cent or 80.97 points to 15,650.88 yesterday, touching an intraday high of 15,725.47. Turnover remained strong at $31.15 billion, albeit lower than the $38.03 billion seen on Tuesday. Normally, turnover was below $20 billion, said Kenny Tang Sing-hing, an associate director at Tung Tai Securities. HSBC was the most actively traded stock, followed by China Construction Bank, yet both stocks remained flat at $130.90 and $2.90 respectively. 'The market has come under profit-taking pressure but the overall sentiment remains positive. Profit taking is usual for a market that has accumulated a lot of gains,' said Mr Tang. Last week, the index gained 468.01 points to a three-month high of 15,344.44 points. He said the strong rise in futures, after the stock market closed yesterday, indicated that fund managers retained a positive outlook on the stock market. January futures rose 169 points to 15,755 yesterday. February futures jumped 163 points to 15,798. 'The market is just experiencing a consolidation after rising for seven consecutive days,' said Patrick Yiu, associate director at Rexcapital Asset Management. 'With turnover still high and the futures contracts standing at a premium, I think the market is still on an upward trend.' If the United States stock market performed reasonably well this month, he said, the Hang Seng Index could test the 16,200 level. Mr Yiu said concerns about bird flu, rising US inflation and surging oil prices posed no immediate threat to the Hong Kong market for now. The H-share index fell 25.89 points or 0.45 per cent to 5,735.73. Mr Tang attributed that to profit taking, especially selling pressure on China Construction Bank and Bank of Communications. MTR was the best-performing blue-chip stock yesterday, followed by CNOOC. MTR rose 4.22 per cent to $16.05, while CNOOC gained 3.57 per cent to $5.80. MTR has been boosted by news that it plans to directly sell a portion of the apartments and shops in the $15 billion Phase 2 of the Dreamcity property project in Tseung Kwan O. CNOOC was still benefiting from news the Chinese oil major successfully gained a 45 per cent interest in a Nigerian oil and gas project for US$2.26 billion, Mr Tang said. The worst performer of the day was Denway Motor, whose share price dropped 1.8 per cent to $2.725. The second worst was Cathay Pacific Airways, which fell 1.05 per cent to $14.10. Cathay Pacific's fall came after company statements the airline was still being hurt by high oil prices, which rose more than 15 per cent in the second half of last year. The third-worst performer was Henderson Land, which lost 0.89 per cent to $38.80. Meanwhile, the first initial public offering of the year on the Hong Kong stock exchange took place yesterday, with the trading debut of Good Friend International, a manufacturer of computer numerical machine tools, garage structures and forklift trucks. The mainland firm's stock rose 8.84 per cent from its offer price to close at $1.23, with $24.08 million worth of shares changing hands. Good Friend sold its new shares at $1.13 each to raise $79.1 million.