China shares end flat on afternoon fall of bank shares

BEIJING, March 25 Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:12am EDT

BEIJING, March 25 (Reuters) - China's main stock indexes ended flat on Tuesday, as afternoon falls by bank shares cancelled out gains from earlier buying of counters linked to Shanghai's free trade zone on hopes its investment rules will be relaxed.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed up 01 percent at 2067.3 points, while the CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen listings was down 0.1 percent at 2174.4.

Banking shares shed morning gains during the afternoon with the CSI300 sub-index of leading Shanghai and Shenzhen bank listings closing down 1 percent. China Citic Bank and Industrial bank were the biggest losers, falling 2.5 and 2 percent respectively.

In the morning, mainland media reported that officials would further relax investment restrictions on foreign investment in the Shanghai free trade zone. This caused shares in Shanghai International Port Group Shanghai Lujiazui Finance & Trade Zone Development Co, and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone Development Co to post strong gains.

(Reporting by Natalie Thomas; Editing by Richard Borsuk)