HSBC, China Mobile lead losses, but market ends week higher The Hong Kong stock market retreated to close below 15,000 points yesterday after the United States Senate rejected a proposed bailout of American carmakers, heightening global recession fears. The Hang Seng Index dropped as much as 1,134.67 points before the lunch break but bounced back to close with a loss of 855.51 points or 5.48 per cent at 14,758.39. Turnover was HK$58.77 billion. Wall Street closed lower on Thursday on concern lawmakers would reject the proposed US$14 billion bailout plan for the US car industry. The market fell in late morning trading yesterday after the rejection was confirmed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.89 per cent or 76.3 points. In Europe, London was down 1.86 per cent in late afternoon trading while Paris was off 2.17 per cent. Despite the heavy sell-off, the Hong Kong market still gained 6.59 per cent on the week. It fell 0.3 per cent in the previous week. The weekly gain was partly supported by comments from Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah on the long-awaited 'through-train' programme. Mr Tsang said mainland officials were assessing the risks of launching the scheme to allow mainlanders to invest in Hong Kong stocks directly. His comments, however, were dismissed by a senior mainland official, who said Beijing had not moved any closer to launching the plan. 'There has been no progress on the launch of the through-train scheme,' said Tianjin vice-mayor Cui Jindu. Tianjin was the first city selected to pilot the initiative. HSBC Holdings and China Mobile led declines among the blue chips. HSBC fell 5.73 per cent to HK$82.25 while China Mobile lost 4.68 per cent to HK$78.50. The two heavyweights contributed 26.75 per cent of yesterday's point losses. KGI Securities chief operating officer Ben Kwong Man-bun said the index would trade between 14,200 and 15,200 points next week. Mr Kwong said an expected interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve would do little to stabilise the market, but the overall sentiment depended mainly on whether the US found a solution for the troubled car giants. 'The failure of the US car sector will definitely cause a chain reaction in other sectors and a global recession will be unavoidable,' he said. Ricky Tam Siu-hing, a director at Champlus Asset Management, expected the bailout plan to be approved by the middle of next week, which could be an encouraging catalyst for the stock market. 'The positive news could push the Hang Seng Index above 15,000 points by the end of next week,' Mr Tam said. The Shanghai stock market fell for a second consecutive day. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 3.81 per cent to end at 1,954.215 points.