NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares of the largest U.S. companies hit record highs on Monday, lifting Wall Street and a gauge of key world equity indexes, while data on U.S. drilling and output kept downward pressure on oil prices.
Global trading was light, with some markets in Europe and Latin America closed for the May Day holiday, while Japan was open overnight during a shortened trading week.
Data showed U.S. manufacturing activity slowed in April while consumer spending was unchanged in March and a key inflation measure recorded its first monthly drop since 2001. Despite the soft data, traders continued to see a 7-in-10 chance that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates in June.
On Wall Street, Apple and other large technology companies led the way, sending the Nasdaq Composite to a record high. Apple is due to report its earnings on Tuesday, while Facebook will report on Wednesday.
So far in this earnings season, reported and expected profits at S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 13.6 percent in the first quarter, the most since 2011, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“This is shaping up to be the strongest earnings season in several years,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“That has kind of got people gravitating back to equities and gravitating to the equities that are doing well.”
Shares of the largest five U.S. companies by market capitalization, Apple AAPL.O, Alphabet GOOGL.O, Microsoft MSFT.O, Amazon AMZN.O and Facebook FB.O hit intraday or closing highs - or both - on Monday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 27.05 points, or 0.13 percent, to close at 20,913.46, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 4.13 points, or 0.17 percent, to 2,388.33 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 44.00 points, or 0.73 percent, to 6,091.60.
MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.22 percent.
Stocks briefly pared gains midway through the U.S. session after U.S. President Donald Trump said in an interview with Bloomberg he is actively considering breaking up the largest U.S. banks, but the losses were quickly reversed.
Oil slipped 1.2 percent as rising output in Libya and increased U.S. drilling countered OPEC-led production cuts.
“With four months of the cutting in effect we haven’t seen a sizable reduction in global oil fuel inventories,” said Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “It’s not sizable enough to see some proof, and the market is having trouble holding most of its gains since 2016.”
Crude prices were also pressured by data showing that growth in Chinese manufacturing slowed faster than expected in April.
U.S. Treasury debt prices fell in thin volume, pressured by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying the government is looking into the issuance of ultralong-term bonds, or those with maturities beyond 30 years.
Copper CMCU3 rose 0.76 percent to $5,735.50 a tonne.
Additional reporting by David Gaffen, Lewis Krauskopf, Sam Forgione and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and James Dalgleish
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.