US STOCKS-Wall Street mixed as investors weigh spike in virus cases

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* Moderna up on report Israel in talks to buy its vaccine

* S&P 500 flirts with 200-day moving average

* Indexes mixed: Dow down 0.18%, S&P flat, Nasdaq up 0.62% (Updates to early afternoon)

June 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were mixed in choppy afternoon trading on Monday, with the benchmark S&P 500 paring early losses to trade flat as investors weighed the economic outcome of a spike in new coronavirus cases in China and parts of the United States.

Earlier in the day, the S&P 500 fell as much as 2.5% as it flirted with its 200-day moving average, an indicator of long-term trend.

The Dow edged lower while Nasdaq was up 0.6%, helped by Tesla Inc, Nvidia Corp and Zoom Video Communications.

“Some technical levels are causing a little bit of volatility primarily because the stock market went up as fast as it did,” said Jimmy Lee, chief executive officer of The Wealth Consulting Group, a wealth management firm based in Las Vegas.

“It’s a good reason to take some profits on potentially a second wave of coronavirus and the fear of more government shutdown.”

Beijing reinstated curbs after an unexpected spike in cases and the United States reported a record number of new infections and hospitalisations in more states.

Trillions of dollars in fiscal and monetary stimulus along with easing of restrictions had lifted the S&P 500 as much as 47.5% from the pandemic low in March and helped the tech-heavy Nasdaq confirm a bull market last week. But, a dismal economic outlook from the U.S. Federal Reserve and jitters over a resurgence in coronavirus cases sent the Wall Street’s main indexes for their worst week since March.

At 13:25 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 46.96 points, or 0.18%, at 25,558.58, the S&P 500 was up 1.15 points, or 0.04%, at 3,042.46. The Nasdaq Composite was up 59.68 points, or 0.62%, at 9,648.48.

In contrast, the small-cap Russell 2000 climbed about 1.2%. The CBOE volatility index, a gauge of investor anxiety, eased after jumping to a near two-month high of 44.44.

Nine of the major S&P sectors were higher led by a 0.5% rise in industrials.

Moderna Inc rose 5.6% after a report said Israel is in advanced talks with the drug developer to buy its coronavirus vaccine.

Beginning Tuesday, investors will focus on Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s two-day congressional testimony on the monetary policy report.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.33-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.07-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week high and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 33 new highs and 10 new lows.

Reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur