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US STOCKS-S&P 500 muted as virus cases rise, jobless claims weigh

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* Weekly jobless claims higher than expected

* Carnival Corp falls after warning of annual loss

* Spotify rises on signing podcast deal with Warner Bros

* Indexes mixed: Dow dips 0.25%, S&P flat, Nasdaq up 0.17% (Updates to early afternoon)

June 18 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 was little changed on Thursday as coronavirus infections picked up again in parts of the United States and data showed an elevated level of weekly jobless claims, lending weight to predictions of a prolonged economic recovery.

Several U.S. states including Texas, Florida and Oklahoma reported a surge in new infections. However, President Donald Trump said late on Wednesday the United States would not close businesses again.

The Labor Department’s report showed weekly jobless claims declining for the eleventh straight week, but the pace of declines has slowed as tepid demand and fractured supply chains have sparked a second wave of layoffs.

A resurgence in coronavirus infections has kept the S&P 500 and Dow indexes in a narrow range since last week, with the S&P 500 now 8% below its February all-time high after coming within 5% of that level last week.

“The market has fully priced in a majority of the gains coming out of this recovery phase and it’s not really going to go much higher until we get better data down the road,” said Andrew Smith, chief investment strategist at Delos Capital Advisors, in Dallas, Texas.

At 1:09 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 64.75 points, or 0.25%, at 26,054.86 and the S&P 500 was down 1.35 points, or 0.04%, at 3,112.14. The Nasdaq Composite was up 16.91 points, or 0.17%, at 9,927.44.

Technology was the biggest boost to the benchmark index. Real estate and utilities posted the steepest percentage declines.

Biogen Inc dropped 6.4% after a U.S. district court ruled in favor of generic drugmaker Mylan NV in a patent dispute over drugmaker’s blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera. Mylan NV rose 2%.

Spotify Technology SA jumped 13.4% after signing a podcast deal with AT&T Inc’s Warner Bros and DC entertainment featuring popular DC comics characters.

Carnival Corp slipped 1.7% after reporting a quarterly net loss of $4.4 billion and warning of a loss for the rest of the year as the pandemic brought its cruise business to an effective standstill.

Kroger Co declined 5.5% as it stopped short of raising its annual forecasts, saying a coronavirus-driven surge in demand for essential goods was fading as American households reconsider what they have on their shelves.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.41-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.03-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded five new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 69 new highs and three new lows. (Reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Arun Koyyur)

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