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Wall St. rebounds slightly but volume lower than usual

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rebounded modestly on Friday after Wall Street began the new year with a broad decline but major stock indexes were on track to end the week lower.

Trading is likely to be volatile with low volume as many market participants remain out of the office due to the New Year's holiday-interrupted week and after a snowstorm that caused more than 2,000 U.S. flight delays and cancellations, paralyzed road travel, and closed schools and government offices.

Much of the day's focus will be on a number of U.S. Federal Reserve officials due to deliver speeches, after the Fed announced in December that it would start tapering its monthly bond purchases. Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to speak at 2:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) in Philadelphia.

"I don't think Bernanke will say anything market moving today. The market will stay steady today, gearing up for next week," which will be filled with economic reports and the start of fourth-quarter earnings season, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 38.52 points or 0.23 percent, to 16,479.87, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 1.75 points or 0.1 percent, to 1,833.73 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 6 points or 0.14 percent, to 4,137.07.

On their first day of trading in 2014, U.S. stocks suffered their worst decline since December 11 as investors booked profits in the wake of the S&P 500's best yearly advance since 1997, with many of last year's strongest performers down on the day.

"After a first trading day jolt, the market is stabilizing and, where we are now, it could easily be swayed in either direction due to lack of attendance from the inclement weather," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

"There is a faction of investors that are looking at yesterday's pullback as an opportunity to enter equities at a discounted price."

Shares of Hertz <HTZ.N> rose 1.7 percent to $29.81 after CNBC reported that activist investor Carl Icahn purchased 30 million to 40 million shares of the car rental business, citing sources familiar with the situation. Icahn is the target of the poison pill Hertz put into place Monday, the sources said. They also noted that Icahn's position is not entirely in common stock and also includes some derivatives reflecting shares in the company.

Cybersecurity company FireEye Inc <FEYE.O> has acquired Mandiant Corp, the computer forensics specialist best known for unveiling a secretive Chinese military unit believed to be behind a series of hacking attacks on U.S. companies. FireEye shares jumped 31 percent to $53.93.

The PHLX semiconductor index <.SOX> edged down 0.6 percent, weighed down by a 2.8 percent drop in Micron Technology Inc <MU.O> to $21.06 after RBC lowered its rating on the stock to a "sector perform" from "outperform."

Twitter <TWTR.N> shares gained 3.3 percent to $69.74. Shares in the social media company burst out of the gate in 2014 with a gain of more than 6 percent.

Investors will monitor automakers on Friday as they report vehicle sales for December. Chrysler Group LLC reported a 6 percent gain last month in U.S. auto sales, its best December since 2007, but still narrowly missed analyst expectations.

Ford Motor Co <F.N> shares were flat at $15.44 and General Motors Co <GM.N> slumped 3 percent to $39.70 after posting their December sales.

(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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