U.S. stocks were little changed on Friday and on track for their second straight week of losses as disappointment over weak jobs data waned and as brokers' positive comments lifted technology and financial companies.
Tech stocks got a boost from UBS and Morgan Stanley's price target hike for Apple Inc
Major indexes fell in early trading, hurt by a U.S. Labor Department report that showed employers cut 263,000 jobs in September, far more than the 180,000 job losses that had been expected.
I don't think the non-farm (payrolls) number, being what it was, was that much worse than expected, said Michael James, senior trader at Wedbush Morgan in Los Angeles. He said previous jobs data during the week and Goldman Sachs's downward revision for its payrolls forecast could have lowered initial expectations.
We had a couple of positive comments on Apple today, which are certainly helping the Nasdaq, James said.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> edged up 4.61 points, or 0.05 percent, to 9,513.89. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dropped 0.98 point, or 0.10 percent, to 1,028.87. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 0.60 point, or 0.03 percent, to 2,058.08.
A data analysis from Reuters TV showed that since the beginning of the recession in December 2007, stocks have closed higher on average on days when the monthly jobs report is published.
Financial shares were generally stronger, after KBW upgraded both BB&T Corp
BB&T gained 5.4 percent to $26.91 while US Bancorp was up 1.2 percent to $21.37. The KBW bank index <.BKX> gained 0.9 percent.
Apple shares gained 2.4 percent to $185.22 after its stock upgrade to buy by UBS, which also hiked its price target by 56 percent, to $265.
International Business Machines
A downbeat note came from General Electric Co
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)