Wall Street on Monday had its worst day in nearly a month, falling from records as investors took profits after the extended rally of recent days.

On the year's second-to-last trading day, the red arrows in New York, where volume was notably light, helped drag down stock markets in Europe as well. Earlier in the day, Asian markets were mixed.

Analysts have attributed the latest run of records to upbeat investor sentiment based on a lower risk of recession in the immediate future, a mellowing of US-China trade tensions and accommodative monetary policy.

"Obviously, it's about some profit taking," Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital Securities told AFP.

"The markets were looking a bit tired last week even though it posted new record highs."

Despite Monday's losses, stocks have made strong gains in December, as well as over the course of 2019.

A newspaper report on Monday that a top Chinese trade official was due in Washington on Saturday to sign a partial trade agreement failed to boost the major indices.

The US Trade Representative's office did not respond to a request for comment. However, in an appearance on Fox News, White House economic aide Peter Navarro said the signing could occur "within a week or two."

In Asia, investors will be watching for key policy announcements in the region later this week.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to give his New Year's speech on Wednesday, with all eyes on nuclear-armed Pyongyang's threat of a "new way" after its end-of-year deadline for sanctions relief from the US, analysts said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is also scheduled to give a New Year's address.

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.6 percent at 28,462.14 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.6 percent at 3,221.29 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.7 percent at 8,945.99 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.8 percent at 7,587.05 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.7 percent at 13,249.01 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.9 percent at 5,982.22 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.9 percent at 3,745.47 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.8 percent at 23,656.62 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.3 percent at 28,319.39 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.2 percent at 3,040.02 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1202 from $1.1177

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.87 yen from 109.11

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3106 from $1.3118

Euro/pound: UP at 85.47 pence from 85.36 pence

Brent Crude: UP 0.4 percent at $68.44 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.1 percent at $61.68 per barrel

Copyright AFP. All rights reserved.

Wall Street falls from records
Traders are waiting for the Tuesday release of China's official manufacturing PMI data. Photo: AFP / HECTOR RETAMAL