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China shares down on weak property, losses limited by FTZ stocks

BEIJING, April 17 (Reuters) - China shares closed down on Thursday, pulled lower by weak real estate shares as investors braced themselves ahead of housing data expected to show property price growth slowed in March.

The Shanghai Composite Index ended down 0.3 percent at 2,098.88 points. The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings fell 0.4 percent.

Shares in China Fortune Land Co Ltd were down 3.6 percent, while Metro Land Corp Ltd lost 1.5 percent, and Beijing Capital Development Co Ltd shed 2.0 percent.

March housing data will be released on Friday.

Property losses were limited by gains in Shanghai Free Trade Zone shares, which outperformed following state media reports that foreign firms will be able to directly invest in the zone via banks.

(Reporting By Natalie Thomas; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)