INVESTORS received a birthday present from Hang Seng Index which turned 25 yesterday - a new index to help track trends after the local stock market closes - the Hang Seng London Reference Index. Covering the 19 Hong Kong constituent stocks of the 22 traded in London, the new index will be an extension of the Hang Seng Index in a different time frame and market and will be launched on December 1. It will give investors 13 hours of minute-by-minute tracking of the blue chips; they will need only press HSLR on their Reuter screen from Thursday and they will be informed of their performance until 11 pm. The new service covers about 75 per cent of the Hang Seng Index and 50 per cent of the market capitalisation of the local exchange. The number will drop to 16 in February next year as Dairy Farm, Mandarin Oriental and Hongkong Land will cease to become index constituent stocks. Yet its 75 per cent representation of the Hang Seng Index will remain. 'There is an obvious demand for an indicator to track the overall price movement of the Hang Seng Index constituent stocks on the London market relative to the daily closing Hang Seng Index,' said Roger Luk, chairman of the Hang Seng Index advisory committee. The committee is an independent body overseeing HSI Services, which launched the Hang Seng Index, and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index. This demand has been partly met by the Fleming Hong Kong Index that covers all the 22 stocks traded in London. Mark Makepeace, head of indices at the London Stock Exchange, said the index was available to a limited number of brokerage firms. The base for calculating the new index will be the closing figure of the Hang Seng Index each day. The new index will indicate how the index performs relative to the closing level in Hong Kong. It is a response to the increasing interest from both local and foreign investors in Hong Kong stocks. 'On any given day, about one-third of the global accesses to Hong Kong stock information on Reuter comes from Europe,' said Phillip Melchior, managing director, East Asia of Reuter. On the London Stock Exchange, an average of more than HK$480 million is traded daily in Hong Kong securities, compared to an average of $3 to $4 billion turnover locally. The Fleming Hong Kong Index which tracks Far East securities, accounts for more than a quarter of turnover in foreign securities in London. 'Out of this one quarter, Japanese securities make up half of the trading while Hong Kong securities come second, taking up one quarter to one third of these Far East securities,' said Mr Makepeace. Average turnover in foreign equities on the London Stock Exchange is more than $22 billion a day and the average size of a trade is more than $2 million.