Strong results from Research in Motion lifted technology shares on Friday, helping nudge U.S. stocks into positive territory despite grim employment and service sector data.

Technology shares advanced as the U.S.-listed stock of Canada's Research in Motion , a technology bellwether, posted surprisingly strong results after the bell on Thursday.

RIM jumped almost 22 percent to $59.72.

In further signs of deterioration in the labor market, government data showed the U.S. unemployment rate hit the highest level since 1983 as employers cut 663,000 jobs in March. The numbers, though, were in line with consensus forecasts.

Another report showed the U.S. services sector shrank for the sixth straight month in March as recession-weary consumers tightened their belts.

What we've got is a market that over the last several weeks has shrugged off some of the bad news that's come out and has continued to move steadily higher, said Richard Sparks, senior equity analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> added 7.65 points, or 0.10 percent, at 7,985.73. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose up 4.62 points, or 0.55 percent, at 839.00. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 14.49 points, or 0.90 percent, at 1,617.12.

(Editing by James Dalgleish)