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US STOCKS-S&P futures near record high with jobless claims in focus

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* Futures: Dow and S&P flat, Nasdaq dips 0.22%

July 1 (Reuters) - Futures tracking the S&P 500 hovered near a record high on Thursday, with investors awaiting a batch of economic data to gauge the health of the U.S. economy following strong gains for the equity market in the first half of the year.

The Labor Department’s weekly jobless claim report, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell for the week ended June 26, albeit at a slower pace amid labor shortages.

Separately, data on U.S. factory activity and construction spending is scheduled at 10 a.m. ET.

With the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hitting a series of record highs last month, investors are razor-focused on Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report, where a strong reading could force the U.S. Federal Reserve to rethink its accommodative stance.

The Fed’s surprisingly hawkish tone in June had accelerated a move into the so called “safe haven” tech-heavy growth stocks from energy, financials and industrial names that stand to benefit the most from the reopening economy.

Focus also shifts to the second-quarter earnings season, beginning July, to gauge whether the first-half momentum could continue further for the remaining year.

At 6:41 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 7 points, or 0.02%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 0.25 points, or 0.01%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 32.5 points, or 0.22%.

Micron Technology Inc slipped 2.9% premarket even as it beat estimates for quarterly profit and forecast fourth-quarter revenue above expectations.

Didi Global Inc jumped 8.5%, a day after its shares ended their first day of U.S. trading slightly over their initial public offering price, valuing China’s ride-hailing giant at $68.49 billion.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc rose 0.8% ahead of its third-quarter results. (Reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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