Stocks rose modestly on Friday, rebounding after a string of declines with equities on track for their strongest quarter in more than two years.

The S&P 500 has fallen for three straight days but remains up 2.8 percent in March and ahead almost 12 percent for the first quarter. If could be the best start to the year since 1998 and the index's best quarter since the third period of 2009.

Some analysts look for a market pullback in the second quarter after the strong early run as investors seek confirmation the economic recovery will not stall.

Tech shares, which have surged 21.5 percent this quarter, are seen as vulnerable, especially if Apple Inc pulls back. The tech titan is up 51 percent over the quarter.

The S&P tech index <.GSPT> dipped 0.1 percent early. Apple was off 0.6 percent to $606.52.

I continue to be very cautious. I'm not all in on this market, said Joseph Cangemi, managing director at BNY ConvergEx Group in New York. We're in a churning period right now, and while today's move is related to it being the end of the quarter, this is definitely a time for patience.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 35.08 points, or 0.27 percent, at 13,180.90. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 3.09 points, or 0.22 percent, at 1,406.37. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 0.59 points, or 0.02 percent, at 3,094.77.

The Nasdaq was pressured by weakness in chip shares, including Micron Technology Inc , down 2.1 percent to $8.24, and SanDisk Corp , off 1.7 percent to $49.34.

For the week, both the Dow and S&P are up 0.8 percent while the Nasdaq has jumped 1.1 percent.

A new round of data painted a mixed picture of the economic environment.

U.S. consumer spending in February increased by the most in seven months, even as personal income rose modestly, which could prompt analysts to scale back expectations of a sharp pullback in growth this quarter.

The pace of business activity in the U.S. Midwest slowed more than expected in March as employment and new orders dropped from elevated levels last month.

In a more upbeat report, U.S. consumer confidence rebounded to its highest level in more than a year in March as optimism about jobs and income overcame higher prices at the gasoline pump.

Research in Motion Ltd reported its first quarterly loss since 2005 late Thursday and said it will no longer issue forecasts, prompting analysts to cut stock price targets. After tumbling after hours, U.S.-listed shares rebounded 2.4 percent to $14.09.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)