South African futures were higher on Thursday as the JSE ended the day flat, despite upbeat performances from miners and Naspers, and as the Dow opened firmer.

The Dow was up 0.2% soon after the JSE’s close amid mixed European bourses, with the FTSE 100 losing 0.31% and the DAX 30 gaining 0.12%.

The all share closed 0.01% up at 58,013.20 points and the bluechip top 40 gained 0.16%. The platinum index rose 2.2%, resources 0.93% and the gold index 0.85%. General retailers dropped 1.93%, food and drug retailers 1.4%, banks 1.03% and financials 0.81%.

Dow Jones Newswires said stocks across Europe rose early on Thursday, aiming to break a two-session losing streak, but lost momentum as the day progressed.

Still in focus was Brexit negotiations, and in particular the chances for a deal on the Irish border issue — the last of three Brexit issues that have to be resolved before Friday, a deadline set by lead EU negotiator Michel Barnier.

EU leaders are meeting from December 14-15 in Brussels, where they will assess whether there’s been "sufficient progress" in the UK withdrawal talks to move onto the next stage of trade and transition arrangements, the newswires said.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May was working on a new proposal for the Irish border that she was due to present on Thursday, Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said, according to media reports.

The top-40 Alsi futures index gained 0.3% to 51,923 points. The number of contracts traded was 21,795 from Wednesday’s 27,081.

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