By Rex Crum, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Tech stocks found the going a bit rough Friday, as the sector's efforts to advance were held in check by investors' reaction to the rise in the U.S. unemployment rate, which dampened enthusiasm across the market.
Among leading tech stocks, gains came from Oracle Corp. (ORCL), Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM), Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) and IBM Corp. (IBM).
VeriFone Holdings Inc. (PAY) shares rose almost 7% after the electronic-payment processor reported stronger-than-expected earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter Wednesday.
National Semiconductor Corp. (NSM) gained 3.5% after FBR Capital Markets raised its rating on the chip maker to outperform from market perform.
However, the sector muddled its way through the day's action after a disappointing payrolls report and an increase in the nation's unemployment rate, which rose to 9.8% in November.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF), which lists many big-name tech stocks and started December with two straight days of gains, was lately down 3 points to 2,576. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) and the Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index (MSH) were at their breakeven points.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) gave up 31 cents a share to trade at $317.90 after Caris & Co. analyst Robert Cihra raised his price target on the stock to $400 from $375.
Declines also came from Google Inc. (GOOG), Dell Inc. (DELL) and Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO).