CONTAINER terminals are the main focus of analyst attention when looking at Hutchison Whampoa's stream of earnings in the future. After 1995 and 1996, property development profits run out and an earnings gap will need to be filled. More strategic investments generating recurring income in the future are expected for the company in power, infrastructure and container ports in Hong Kong and China, along with property investment. Analysts speculated whether in 1996 the company might choose to sell off the British Personal Communications Network to plug the earnings gap. Concern that there would be a slowdown in earnings in 1994 was allayed. The lack of disclosure made it difficult for some analysts to get a clear picture of what was happening. Some brokers who were well out on their forecasts suggest it was because the company was bringing forward development gains, expected in 1993, into 1994. The range for net profit in 1994 was between $6.9 billion, up 9.5 per cent, and $7.74 billion, up 22.85 per cent. Earnings per share might rise $1.90 or $2.08. Net profit growth in 1995 is expected to be about 12 to 16 per cent. On yesterday's close, the price-earnings (PE) ratio in 1994 earnings terms was at about 17 to 15.6 times. Senior analyst at HG Asia Tim Storey said: ''I am encouraged by the group's drive to develop container ports, especially in China. ''This will more than likely improve the quality of earnings at the company in an area of business the group understands and [in which it] has great experience.'' His forecast of profit in 1994 is $7.24 billion with earnings per share at $2.01. Head of Hong Kong research at Jardine Fleming Alex Ho said: ''These results this time were in line. It was quite predictable, the real story was probably the strong profit growth at [parent] Cheung Kong.'' He indicated the engine of earnings growth in 1994 would be from Hong Kong International Terminals, in which Hutchison has increased its stake. Analysts are expecting another nine per cent growth in HIT throughput this year. A contribution from the Yantian project would also be likely and one-off losses from telecommunications might not be repeated this year.