* Tariffs will not necessarily spark a trade war, says Navarro
* Industrial stocks gain for first time in four sessions
* Alibaba up on report of China listing plans
* Dollar General up after results
* Dow up 0.46 pct, S&P down 0.1 pct, Nasdaq off 0.24 pct (Updates to late afternoon, changes byline, adds NEW YORK to dateline)
NEW YORK, March 15 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 turned lower on Thursday on a report that U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller had issued a subpoena for documents related to U.S. President Donald Trump's businesses, reinforcing the picture of turmoil in the White House.
The S&P fell to a session low soon after the New York Times report was released. The Nasdaq, already down, added to its losses, while the Dow pared some gains.
"I think there is a lot of exhaustion with political commentary," said Michael Antonelli, managing director of institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee. "The political headlines are dominating price action."
Earlier on Thursday, the S&P 500 saw modest gains after Peter Navarro, the White House's top adviser on international trade, said in a CNBC interview Trump's tough approach to global trade, including tariffs on metals imports, would not necessarily provoke retaliation.
U.S. stocks have been roiled this week by political uncertainty, including the tariff plans and the ouster of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The markets paid less lasting attention to government data released earlier in the day that showed weekly U.S. jobless claims fell last week, pointing to a strong labor market.
"There's good data that is being overshadowed by DC," Antonelli said. "That might be the story of the last week or so."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 114.88 points, or 0.46 percent, to 24,873, the S&P 500 lost 2.69 points, or 0.10 percent, to 2,746.79 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 17.89 points, or 0.24 percent, to 7,478.92.
The S&P industrial index, however, rose 0.4 percent, leading all sectors, and was on course for its first session of gains in four days as worries of a trade war eased. Caterpillar was up 1.4 percent.
Among stocks, Alibaba jumped 3.7 percent on a report that the Chinese e-commerce company was planning a secondary listing in China.
Dollar General rose 4.6 percent after the discount retailer's quarterly same-store sales beat estimates.
Qorvo tumbled 4.5 percent after Bank of America said the radio frequency chipmaker could lose out to Broadcom for a spot in upcoming iPhones.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.99-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.50-to-1 ratio favored decliners. (Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and James Dalgleish)