NEW YORK (AP) _ The stock market was little changed today amid uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates.

The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials, down more than 10 points in early trading, was up 1.85 at 2,288.21 by 2 p.m. on Wall Street.

Losers outnumbered gainers by about 6 to 5 in the overall tally of New York Stock Exchange-listed issues, with 668 up, 793 down and 401 unchanged.

The market's advance Thursday was attributed to hopes that the dollar would stabilize in foreign exchange, easing upward pressure on interest rates.

Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone told President Reagan Thursday that steps would be taken to lower interest rates in Japan.

However, New York's Citicorp today raised its prime lending rate from 7 3/4 to 8 percent, and many other money-center banks quickly followed suit.

The prime is generally regarded as a lagging indicator of interest-rate trends, and the latest increase was interpreted by some analysts as simply a response to the rise in open-market rates that occurred earlier last month. Nevertheless, the news served to unsettle the markets at the opening.

Ford Motor rose 5 1/8 to 96 1/8 in active trading. The stock has been strong since Wednesday, when the company reported sharply higher earnings for the first quarter.

Among other auto issues, General Motors climbed 1 1/2 to 91 1/2 and Chrysler was up 7/8 at 39 1/8 .

Bank stocks were mostly higher. Citicorp added 1 3/8 to 54 3/4 ; Chase Manhattan 1/2 to 38, and Manufacturers Hanover 1/2 to 43 .

The NYSE's composite index of all its listed common stocks slipped .13 to 162.73. On the American Stock Exchange, the market value index was up .13 at 325.32.

Volume on the Big Board came to 116.18 million shares with two hours to go.