THE market slid more than 200 points yesterday as profit-taking, especially by Hong Kong retail investors, ruled the day. The Hang Seng Index dived 211.13 points or 1.86 per cent to 11,155.81 in relatively quiet trading with a turnover of $7.77 billion. Brokers attributed the trading lull to a re-focusing of interest by overseas investors on their home equity markets which had shown upside potential. ''The interest has been re-focused in their own markets,'' said Barclays de Zoete Wedd assistant director Nial Gooding. ''We have clearly gone off the boil. ''There was a lack of institutional interest. I think there is not a feeling of any hurry now. ''It is interesting that today [yesterday] for the first time for a while there is more activity in the second liners than blue chips.'' Heavy selling of a number of second liners and the lower market turnover suggested that selling came mostly from local retail investors, said Mr Gooding. Crosby Securities dealing director Willie Chau Wing-hung said: ''A lot of investors have been taking the cue from the Japanese. Now that the Japanese have become less active here, the market fell.'' But brokers said the fall represented a healthy consolidation of the market which was now dogged by caution. ''At this level, when the market capitalisation has been so largely blown up, fluctuations are normal,'' said Mr Chau. Sun Hung Kai Securities executive director Larry Tam Kwong-lau said: ''Had there been panic selling, there wouldn't have been buying interest towards the end.'' The drop on a lighter turnover, together with January futures closing at a premium, was an indication of an imminent uptrend, he said. January futures ended the day down 280 points at 11,195, a 40-point premium to the spot index. Estimated volume for January futures was 15,005 lots, compared with total market activity of 15,170 lots. The volatile property sector lost much of its lustre as yesterday's biggest loser among Hang Seng sectoral sub-indices. ''Properties got killed,'' said Mr Gooding of the sector which slipped 2.37 per cent or 502.37 points to 21,182.56. Some brokers attributed the fall to rekindled rumours that Hongkong Bank would tighten its mortgage restrictions, while others said it was matter of rotational buying. Commercial and industrial counters dipped 2.09 per cent or 169.27 points to 8,062.99. Utilities shed 1.93 per cent or 233.5 points to 12,084.88. Finance demonstrated the greatest resistance to selling, losing 0.97 per cent or 94.65 points to 9,697.03. Mr Chau said the finance sector was buttressed by anticipation of good results to be released by Bank of East Asia next week. Hongkong Land was the third-busiest stock in turnover terms, losing 60 cents to $26.40 as shares worth $275 million changed hands. Novel Enterprises on Monday repurchased 6.53 million ordinary shares at prices ranging between $1.69 and $1.74. The counter, which went ex-dividend yesterday, was the day's fifth best performer in percentage terms, rising 7.51 per cent or 13 cents to $1.86 on a turnover of $6.25 million. Lai Sun Development chairman Lim Por-yen has reported a fall in his interest in the company by 35 million shares, representing 1.4 per cent of the company's issued share capital. QPL International Holdings chairman Li Tung-lok reported an increase in his interest in the company by 15.8 million shares, representing 1.25 per cent of the company's issued share capital. Buildmore International, Process Automation (Holdings) and Chevalier (OA) International said they were not aware of any reasons for the recent increases in their share prices. Morning Star Holdings was suspended in the afternoon pending an announcement.