(Reuters) - The S&P 500 index was little changed on Thursday as gains in heavyweight tech stocks offset gloom over downbeat data that underlined the Federal Reserve’s view of a difficult road to recovery.

The number of Americans filing a new claim for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly back above the 1 million mark last week after slipping below that level for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

A separate set of data from the Philadelphia Fed showed business conditions index fell more than expected in August.

“Weekly jobless claims show how uneven the economic recovery is going to be,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

The volatility in jobless claims follows the lapse of an extra $600 weekly unemployment benefit at the end of July and comes at a time when Democrats in Congress and the White House have failed to reach an agreement on extending it.

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