HONG KONG Aug 6 (Reuters) - China shares fell on Wednesday but ended off early lows as solid gains in metal counters helped offset weakness in banking and energy large caps.
The Shanghai Composite Index ended down 0.1 percent at 2,217.46 points, while the CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings slipped 0.3 percent.
Both briefly bounced back to positive territory in the afternoon before sliding back into the red.
PetroChina was the main drag on the index in Shanghai, slipping 0.6 percent.
Aluminum Corp of China soared the maximum 10 percent to close at a 9-month high, after the company confirmed it had won approval to establish a rare earth group with the aim of industry consolidation, according to a Sina Finance report.
Steel firms also jumped, with Baotou Steel up 7.2 percent and Baoshan Iron & Steel 2.2 percent.
Chinese airlines were also stronger on hopes the yuan currency would continue to appreciate. China Eastern Airlines , Air China and China Southern Airlines all added over 1 percent. (Reporting by Grace Li and Lu Jianxin; Editing by Kim Coghill)