Investors are optimistic the Hang Seng Index will gain in value despite recent market volatility due to Hong Kong's healthy economy and leveraged access to mainland markets, a JF Asset Management survey shows. The survey of 500 retail investors completed in December showed 73 per cent of those polled believed the local market could rise from its current level and 48 per cent thought it would jump above 30,000 points by year-end. More than 70 per cent of the investors said they felt most comfortable concentrating their equity investments in Hong Kong rather than in foreign markets. The most popular overseas market was the mainland, with 83 per cent of respondents saying they had invested there over the past six months. Concerns about a potential US economic slowdown and tightening macroeconomic policies in China have 'caused investor confidence in the SAR to fall back, but only to absolute levels that remain very high,' Edwin Chan, JF Asset Management's head of institutional and pension business, said at yesterday's survey presentation. The JF Hong Kong Investor Confidence Index dipped to 130 from 134 in the previous study conducted in September. Even so, it still suggested investors were bullish on the local market, Mr Chan said.