China shares end 2012 at six-month high, post first annual gain in three years

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 31, 2012 11:10 hrs

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Mainland Chinese shares closed at their highest levels in six months on Monday, as strength in insurers and brokerages helped benchmark indexes post their first annual gain in three years.

China plans to allow eligible securities houses, insurers' asset management units and private equity funds to develop and manage mutual funds in a bid to reinvigorate an industry struggling to produce returns for investors.

The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings closed up 1.6 percent on the day at 2,523 points. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.6 percent.

The indexes rose 7.6 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively, in 2012 after diving more than 20 percent in 2011.

Both closed at their highest since June 20, largely on the back of a surge in December. The CSI300 and Shanghai Composite soared 17.9 percent and 14.6 percent this month, their respective best monthly gains since July 2009.

Onshore China markets will be shut January 1 to 3 and will reopen for the new year on Friday, January 4.

(Reporting by Clement Tan; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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