NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks hovered at highs on Monday with the S&P 500 trading near its record closing level. Wall Street was seeing calm trading after factory orders in March climbed at their fastest pace since July and ahead of Friday's unemployment report. 

The S&P 500 was up 0.37% to 2,116. The benchmark index closed at an all-time high of 2,117.69 on April 24. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.36%, and the Nasdaq climbed 0.39%.

Crude oil slipped after China's factory activity fell at a faster pace than expected, prompting fears of weakened demand for oil in the world's second-largest economy. The HSBC final Purchasing Managers' Index fell at its fastest pace in a year, down to 48.9 in April from 49.6 in March. West Texas Intermediate crude closed down 0.4% to $58.93 a barrel. 

AbbVie (ABBV) spiked nearly 1% after Larry Robinson, CEO of Glenview Capital Management, said the biotech company was trading relatively cheaply and that its pipeline is "under-appreciated." Robinson was speaking at the 20th annual Ira Sohn Investment Conference on Monday. 

Oil-fracking companies including Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD), Concho Resources (CXO), and Whiting Petroleum (WLL) slid after activist investor David Einhorn, founder of Greenlight Capital, criticized the fracking industry. 

"We object to oil fracking because the investment can contaminate returns," he said at the investment conference.

The utilities sector was the best performer on the S&P 500. Exelon  (EXC), Southern (SO), Duke Energy (DUK) and Dominion Resources (D) were all higher, while the Utilities SPDR ETF (XLU) added 1%.

New orders for manufactured goods increased 2.1% in March following a 0.1% decrease a month earlier, according to the Commerce Department. Economists had expected a 2% increase.

"The focus this week is really on Friday's jobs report. Expectations are for a snapback in the second quarter," Mark Luschini, chief investment officer at Janney Montgomery Scott, told CNBC

Nonfarm payrolls for April will be released before the bell on Friday. Economists expect 225,000 jobs to have been added over the month, far better than 126,000 added in March. 

Comcast (CMCSA) jumped 0.9% after reporting quarterly earnings of 79 cents a share, 5 cents better than expected. Revenue increased 2.5% to $17.85 billion.

MGM Resorts (MGM) shares slipped 1% after reporting quarterly revenue 11.4% lower than a year earlier. The casino operator had seen a significant decline in its key Macau market. 

McDonald's (MCD) shares fell after the fast food chain unveiled its turnaround strategy. The company said it will focus on operational charges but failed to address its menu, one reason consumers are turning to other fast food options such as Chipotle (CMG).

Charter Communications (CHTR) is in talks with Time Warner Cable (TWC) after the latter's planned merger with Comcast fell through, according to The Wall Street Journal. Charter is reportedly pursuing a less hostile approach than its failed takeover last year.

Diamond Offshore (DO) was slightly lower despite beating expectations on its top- and bottom-lines. The company reported earnings of 50 cents a share, 7 cents higher than forecast. Revenue slid 12.6% to $620 million as plunging oil prices affected its drilling business.

Sysco (SYY) slipped nearly 1% after missing expectations in its third quarter. The food distributor is also preparing to fight for its merger with U.S. Foods on Tuesday. The company will face off with the Federal Trade Commission in a Washington federal court.

Cisco (CSCO) named Chuck Robbins as its new CEO, effective July 26. Robbins was formerly senior vice president of worldwide operations and will replace John Chambers as CEO, who served 20 years at the post.

The manufacturing sector in the eurozone expanded in April, though at a slower pace than the month earlier. Markit's final manufacturing PMI slipped to 52, remaining close to March's 10-month high of 52.2.

Negotiations between Greece and its European creditors have made progress, a government official said over the weekend, noting that an agreement could come this month. Discussions will continue on Monday as the country races to score further debt relief ahead of a May 12 repayment to the International Monetary Fund.

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