Casino magnate Stanley Ho Hung-sun says the Hang Seng Index will surge to 40,000 next year even as New World Development chairman Cheng Yu-tung lowers his targets. The differing forecasts come after Henderson Land Development chairman Lee Shau-kee toned down his bullish predictions on where the blue-chip index would go. 'The HSI will close at about 30,000 at the end of this year and surge to 40,000 next year. I am confident of Hong Kong's economic outlook,' Mr Ho said yesterday at a China Merchants Group cocktail function. Meanwhile, Mr Cheng said the index would fluctuate between 27,000 and 30,000 points in the short term as external factors weighed it down. On Tuesday, Mr Lee again changed his market targets, predicting that the index would hit 30,000 around the Lunar New Year and 33,000 in autumn. His earlier targets were 30,000 by year-end and 33,000 by the Lunar New Year. The Hang Seng Index added 296.39 points or 1.11 per cent to close at 27,029.26 yesterday, extending its gain this year to 35.39 per cent.