U.S. stocks were mixed on Friday on news of the biggest drop in non-farm payrolls in nearly five years while semiconductor and financial shares gained.

Chip maker Intel Corp rose 1.9 percent to $20.25 after falling earlier in the week after it cut its quarterly gross margin forecast, helping to boost the tech-heavy Nasdaq index. Both the Dow Jones and Standard &Poor's Index were in the red in morning trading.

Financial shares led gains in the S&P, with shares of American International Group Inc , the world's largest insurer, up 1.3 percent at $43.43 after finishing Thursday's session just a nickel above a five-year low.

Stocks started Friday's trading lower after the government reported an unexpected drop in U.S. non-farm payrolls for February, underscoring recession fears. Employers cut payrolls for a second straight month making it the biggest monthly job decline in almost five years.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 7.60 points, or 0.34 percent, at 2,228.10 at 11:36 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 41.52 points, or 0.34 percent, at 11,998.87. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 2.08 points, or 0.16 percent, at 1,302.26.