SHANGHAI, April 17 (Reuters) - Shanghai stocks were flat on Wednesday following strong gains the previous session, as investors were unsure whether China's better-than-expected first-quarter economic growth would sustain.
** The CSI300 index fell 0.3 percent to 4,075.29, while the Shanghai Composite Index was unchanged at 3,253.76.
** China's economy grew at a steady 6.4 percent pace in the first quarter from a year earlier, defying expectations for a further slowdown, as industrial production jumped sharply and consumer demand showed signs of improvement.
** China's economy still faces downward pressure, while policy steps to support the economy are starting to bear fruit, statistics bureau said on Wednesday.
** "We believe there is still downward economic pressure in the second quarter, though the stock market will selectively reflect upbeat factors amid 'bullish sentiment', as the gains for now are more driven by expectations of economic recovery than by actual data confirming improvement," CITIC Securities said in report.
** In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 0.2 percent to 30,062.47, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.1 percent to 11,827.92 points.
** Around the region, MSCI'sAsia ex-Japan stock index rose 0.03 percent while Japan's Nikkei index gained 0.27 percent.
** The yuan was quoted at 6.7059 per U.S. dollar, 0.1 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.7128.
** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Taiyuan Chemical Industry Co Ltd , up 10.09 percent, followed by Hunan Corun New Energy Co Ltd , which gained 10.07 percent and China Publishing & Media Holdings Co Ltd , up 10.05 percent.
** The largest percentage losers in the Shanghai index were Zhejiang Huatie Construction Safety Science and Technology Co Ltd , down 6.46 percent, followed by Yijiahe Technology Co Ltd , which lost 5.59 percent and Luoyang Glass Co Ltd , down 5.14 percent.
** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 30.46 percent, while China's H-share index is up 16.8 percent. Shanghai stocks have risen 5.27 percent this month.
** The top gainers among H-shares were Byd Co Ltd , up 4.48 percent, followed by Great Wall Motor Co Ltd , gaining 2.32 percent and China Pacific Insurance Group Co Ltd , up by 2.28 percent.
** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were China Gas Holdings Ltd , which has fallen 5.09 percent, China Vanke Co Ltd , which has lost 2.7 percent and CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd , down by 2.3 percent.
** About 20.74 billion shares have traded so far on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 50.9 percent of the market's 30-day moving average of 40.77 billion shares a day. The volume traded was 35.79 billion as of the last full trading day.
** As of 04:15 GMT, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 26.72 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.
China stock market graphics suite