The S&P 500 index has ended lower as investors took profits after a sharp rally in recent weeks that led to the benchmark’s best November ever.

Most of the major S&P 500 sectors fell on Monday, with the energy index leading losses, tracking a drop in crude prices.

The S&P 500 technology index rose, thanks to a rise in Apple Inc shares.

IHS Markit topped gains on the S&P 500 after data giant S&P Global agreed to buy the financial information provider in a $US44 billion deal that would be the biggest corporate acquisition of 2020.

Month-end rebalancing of portfolios played into Monday’s weakness, analysts said, as investors cashed in on gains after a strong month marked by updates of COVID-19 vaccines making headway and hopes of a swift economic rebound next year.

A rotation into energy, industrials and financials, all expected by many investors to outperform as the economy recovers from its downturn, have driven gains of more than 10 per cent for the S&P 500 in November and helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average make its biggest monthly gain since 1987.

“I would attribute (Monday’s drop) to compounding concerns over the coronavirus, combined with the market just looking to digest some of the recent gains over the past month,” said CFRA Chief Investment Strategist Sam Stovall.

“When you sprint and get out of breath, you have to slow down to catch your breath.”

After an explosion in infections and business restrictions this month that stalled the US labour market recovery, the focus has shifted to Tuesday’s address by Fed Chair Jerome Powell before the Senate Banking Committee, the Fed’s Beige Book on Wednesday and the monthly jobs report on Friday.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 265.91 points, or 0.89 per cent, to 29,644.46, the S&P 500 lost 16.5 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 3,621.85 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 7.11 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 12,198.74.

US Health Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday the first two vaccines against the novel coronavirus could be available to Americans before Christmas.

Moderna Inc surged after it unveiled plans to apply for US and European emergency authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine.

Macy’s Inc and Kohl’s Corp fell after masked shoppers turned up in smaller numbers at major US retailers on Black Friday, as early online deals and concerns about a spike in COVID-19 cases dulled enthusiasm for mall trips.

Nikola Corp plummeted after the company and General Motors Co announced a reworked deal on a fuel-cell partnership that eliminates an equity stake in the startup for the Detroit automaker and plans for building its electric pickup truck.