Bank of America sold about $7.3 billion worth of shares in China Construction Bank <601939.SS>, according to media reports, as the struggling U.S. bank seeks to raise money in the financial crisis.

Even though Construction Bank shares were sold at a comparatively steep 14.3 percent discount to their Monday closing price, the stock reversed a morning decline and was up about 4 percent in the afternoon session following reports of the deal.

The shares fell nearly 7 percent on Monday in a weaker market on concerns Bank of America might sell a stake.

A Bank of America spokesman declined to comment and an official with Beijing-controlled China Construction Bank <0939.HK> could not be immediately reached for comment.

A source familiar with the situation told Reuters the shares were sold at HK$4.20 each to investors including China's Hopu Investment Management Co and Singapore state investment agency Temasek Holdings .

Another source, who also declined to be identified, said China Life Insurance Co Ltd <2628.HK> <601628.SS> or its unlisted parent firm also bought the shares.

Bank of America sold 13.5 billion shares, or 6 percent of Construction Bank, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal reported on their websites.

That was the maximum stake Bank of America was allowed to sell after a recent lock-up lapsed. The sale cuts Bank of America's stake in CCB to 10.6 percent.

Bank of America had been expected to sell shares in Construction Bank since the U.S. government ordered it to find $33.9 billion worth of capital following its stress test of 19 large U.S. banks.

The HK$4.20 per share price represents a discount of about 14.3 percent to Construction Bank's Monday closing price of HK$4.90 per share. The stock ended the Tuesday morning session in Hong Kong down 1.8 percent at HK$4.81 per share.

The discount is wider than when Bank of America offloaded $2.83 billion worth of shares in Construction Bank in January at 12 percent below the Chinese bank's last trading price. That same month, Royal Bank of Scotland sold a $2.4 billion stake in Bank of China <3988.HK><601988.SS> at a 7.6 percent discount.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index <.HSI> rose 0.4 percent by afternoon trade.

(Reporting by Tony Munroe, Clare Jim, Michael Flaherty, and Victoria Bi in Hong Kong and Saeed Azhar in Singapore; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner and Chris Lewis)