Stocks were little changed on Friday after January's U.S. unemployment report showed the jobless rate fell to a 21-month low, but the number of newly created jobs barely grew.

Still, the S&P 500 index was on track for a gain of more than 2 percent for the week despite concerns about political turmoil in Egypt. The Dow also opened above the 12,000 mark for a third consecutive day.

U.S. employment rose by a meager 36,000 jobs in January, far less than expected, but the unemployment rate fell to 9.0 percent, its lowest level since April 2009.

We may be facing a slight resistance (in indexes) but it is not a serious one. The market has the momentum to extend higher when we see good data like the ones we've been seeing before today, said Bryant Evans, portfolio manager at Cozad Asset Manage in Champaign, Illinois.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 0.83 point, or 0.01 percent, at 12,063.09. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 0.16 point, or 0.01 percent, at 1,306.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 8.22 points, or 0.30 percent, at 2,762.10.

Both the Dow and the S&P 500 remain near their 2 1/2-year highs reached last Tuesday.

From a short-term perspective, the Dow has resistance at the 12,050 level and support at the key 12,000 region, said Joseph Hargett, analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Among S&P 500 sectors, consumer and technology stocks rose while the energy and material stocks were hurt by a sharp drop in oil prices. U.S. crude oil futures were down 1.4 percent at $89.25 a barrel.

Health insurer Aetna Inc forecast 2011 profit well above of Wall Street's target on Friday and increased its dividend, sending its shares 9.3 percent higher to $36.38.

Tyson Foods Inc advanced 5.9 percent to $18.59 after the company said quarterly earnings surged 86 percent as it sold beef and pork at much higher prices.

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians marched peacefully in Cairo on Friday to demand an immediate end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

(Editing by Kenneth Barry)