NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose 3 percent for the week after ending Friday’s session slightly higher, shrugging off government data showing the unemployment rate hit 10.2 percent -- the highest in 26-1/2 years.
In a choppy session Friday, the market fell at the open and briefly turned positive after closer inspection of the report showed payroll losses kept declining and job losses for earlier months were revised lower.
“Big-cap stocks are the ones with leverage issues, but they seem to have picked up a lot of interest from investors of late,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management in Bedford Hills, New York.
“We’re certainly seeing continued evidence of economic improvement -- except on the employment side -- but even there, perhaps we may have seen about the worst.”
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI gained 17.46 points, or 0.17 percent, to end at 10,023.42. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX rose 2.67 points, or 0.25 percent, to 1,069.30. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC added 7.12 points, or 0.34 percent, to close at 2,112.44.
For the week, both the Dow and the S&P 500 rose 3.2 percent, while the Nasdaq climbed 3.3 percent.
Bernstein Research and Oppenheimer upgraded their ratings on GE to “outperform” as they believe there will be major divestitures over the next two to three years. They also see a favorable entry point after the stock underperformed since the middle of October.
Travelers Cos Inc TRV.N gave the biggest boost to the Dow. Shares of Travelers rose 2.5 percent percent to $51.90 after Goldman Sachs upgraded the insurer's stock along with XL Capital XL.N, which gained 3.8 percent to $17.22, to "buy" from "neutral".
The KBW Insurance index .KIX added 1 percent.
But bailed-out insurer American International Group Inc AIG.N tumbled 9.7 percent to $35.48 on the New York Stock Exchange after it said its main insurance business remained weak.
Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O jumped 4.6 percent to $126.20 on Nasdaq after Bernstein upgraded the stock to "outperform" on the belief the company will continue to see growth and margin expansion in the future.
JP Morgan boosted Macy's Inc M.N to "overweight" from "neutral," citing improving monthly comparable-store sales at the department store operator and a potential for earnings upside. The stock was up 6.4 percent at $19.18.
The S&P Retail index .RLX advanced 1.7 percent.
Volume was light on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1.08 billion shares changing hands, below last year’s estimated daily average of 1.49 billion, while on the Nasdaq, about 1.84 billion shares traded, shy of last year’s daily average of 2.28 billion.
Advancing stocks slightly outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a ratio of 15 to 14.
On the Nasdaq, though, the trend was reversed, with seven stocks falling for every six that rose.
Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Jan Paschal
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