U.S. stocks were little changed in choppy trading on Friday as brokerage upgrades offset data showing the unemployment rate soared to 10.2 percent last month, its highest in more than 26 years.

General Electric Co , which jumped 5.5 percent to $15.24 after a brokerage upgrade, and helped lead the industrial sector higher. The S&P industrials <.GSPI> gained 0.9 percent.

The market fell at the open and briefly turned positive after a closer look at the report showed payroll losses continued to decline and job losses for earlier months were revised lower.

The headline numbers look terrible, but for traders and investors looking for trends, a closer look at the report shows that there is a trend of slowed job losses, said Randy Frederick, director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab & Co, Inc.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 4.91 points, or 0.05 percent, at 10,001.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 1.07 points, or 0.10 percent, at 1,065.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 0.24 points, or 0.01 percent, at 2,105.56.

Goldman Sachs upgraded insurers Travelers Cos Inc and XL Capital to buy from neutral.

Both Travelers and XL are leading the insurance space. Larger implications are definitely there for GE, said Justin Wiggs, position trader in insurance stocks at Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets in Baltimore. He said the upgrades were keeping the market balanced.

Bernstein Research raised its rating on GE, the largest U.S. conglomerate, to outperform.

Amazon.com Inc was up 4.2 percent to $122.64 after Bernstein upgraded the stock. The S&P retailer index <.RLX> rose 1.1 percent.

Bailed-out insurer American International Group Inc dropped 9.3 percent to $35.65 after it said its main insurance business remained weak.

(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Kenneth Barry)