THE lull before the storm was the way some dealers described the subdued trading in Hang Seng Index futures ahead of yesterday's disappointing land auction. Jardine Fleming (JF) said: ''Bears came out in force with lower-than-expected results from the land auction.'' Upon completion of the first sale, which was well below expectations, the market plummeted. The August futures was sold all the way down to 9,290, where it took a breather. Then a further wave of selling took it to a low of the day, at 9,215, where a dead-cat's bounce brought it up five points to close at 9,220, a discount over the cash of 14 points. Turnover rocketed. Overall volume was 21,879 contracts. Of this 15,302 was in August and 7,577 in September, as roll-over activity gathered pace. Confirmed open interest on Monday was 27,812 in August and 7,886 contracts in September. Index option implied volatility fell to around 27 per cent. JF said: ''Options market was dominated by bearish investors, with attention focused on the out-of-the-money options in August and September.'' August 9,800 and 9,600 calls were heavily sold, while buyers focused on September 8,800 and 9,000 puts.