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Stocks boosted by Apple in light May Day trading; oil slips

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 1, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Apple shares hit a record high on Monday, lifting U.S. stocks 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, 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.

"The economic data today is causing some investor nervousness ahead of the jobs report this Friday," said Matt Miskin, senior capital markets research analyst at John Hancock Investments in Boston.

"While we're starting the week of on a bit of weak economic news, the markets may turn back to corporate fundamentals as corporate earnings are still coming in strong."

Stocks were supported also as U.S. Congress negotiators agreed on a federal funding deal late on Sunday, removing a hurdle for investor confidence.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 10.12 points, or 0.05 percent, to 20,950.63, the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 7.62 points, or 0.32 percent, to 2,391.82 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 48.45 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,096.05.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> gained 0.25 percent.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.16 percent. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> closed 0.31 percent higher, while Japan's Nikkei (.N225) rose 0.59 percent.

Stocks briefly pared gains after U.S. President Donald Trump said in an interview with Bloomberg he is actively considering breaking up the largest U.S. banks.

Oil slipped more than 1 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."

U.S. crude (CLcv1) fell 1.28 percent to $48.70 per barrel and Brent (LCOcv1) was last at $51.39, down 1.27 percent on the day.

Crude prices were also pressured by data showing that growth in Chinese manufacturing slowed faster than expected in April.

The weak U.S. data initially weighed on the dollar, but moves among major currencies were relatively small. The dollar index (.DXY) rose 0.03 percent, with the euro (EUR=) up 0.08 percent to $1.0904.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.29 percent versus the greenback to 111.86 per dollar, while sterling (GBP=) was last trading at $1.2908, down 0.29 percent on the day.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 13/32 in price to yield 2.327 percent, from 2.282 percent late on Friday.

Spot gold (XAU=) dropped 1.0 percent to $1,255.18 an ounce. U.S. gold futures (GCcv1) fell 0.97 percent to $1,256.00 an ounce.

Copper (CMCU3) rose 0.76 percent to $5,735.50 a tonne.

(Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru and David Gaffen in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Chizu Nomiyama)