Australia's share market set an all-time high as it finally climbed above levels of early last year, days before the coronavirus crash began.
The ASX200 set an intra-day record of 7203.3 and notched eight consecutive months of gains, a run not achieved since 2007.
CommSec analyst Steven Daghlian said investors had travelled a rocky road since the coronavirus crash began in February last year.
Mr Daghlian said there were a few reasons why the ASX recovered.
Governments around the world have pumped money into economies to help them rebound from coronavirus recessions.
Interest rates remain low. The cash rate at which banks in Australia can borrow remains at a record low 0.1 per cent.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, was the development of coronavirus vaccines last year.
Despite the early record on the ASX200, the index closed lower by 17.9 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 7161.6.
The All Ordinaries closed down by 17.3 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 7406.7.
The index of the top 500 companies also set a record high, 7448.3.
The market rose 1.93 per cent in May and the eight-month winning streak is just shy of the 10-month run of 2006-2007.
China's emergence as an economic power helped Australia's miners enjoy rapid growth.
ThinkMarkets analyst Carl Capolingua said he was a little surprised the ASX did not fare better on Monday given it set a record early.
"We had positioned ourselves for more of a follow-through," he said.
"But equities are still placed to benefit from a low interest rate environment, and higher materials prices."
He said fund managers often re-positioned portfolios at the end of the month, which could have prompted the small loss.
Data showing China's economy easing may not have helped.
China's factory activity slowed slightly in May as raw materials costs grew at their fastest pace in more than a decade
The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) inched lower to 51.0 in May.
Sub-indices for export orders and raw materials costs were lower and higher than the previous months, respectively.
Energy shares had the greatest losses, 1.59 per cent, prior to an OPEC meeting on Tuesday which will determine oil supply.
Oil Search shed 2.15 per cent to $3.64.
Meanwhile in Australia, Victoria's acting Premier James Merlino warned the virus outbreak in Melbourne may get worse before it gets better.
He said a further six local infections were found on Monday, in addition to the five reported earlier.
The state remains in a seven-day lockdown.
On the ASX, analytics software vendor Nuix plummeted 17.8 per cent to $2.77 after lowering its full-year earnings forecast.
The company eased revenue expectations to between $173 million and $182 million. The previous range was $180 million to $185 million.
Big miners were mixed. BHP dropped 0.64 per cent to $47.85.
Fortescue gained 1.4 per cent to $22.43. Rio Tinto climbed 0.58 per cent to $123.73.
The big four banks all lost less than one per cent.
On Tuesday, investors will look to European markets for their lead. US markets will have stayed closed for the Memorial Day public holiday.
The Reserve Bank will decide whether to change the cash rate. No action is expected.
The CoreLogic home value index is expected to show a further gain of about two per cent for May, driven by a three per cent in Sydney house prices.
However, building approval figures for April on the same day are not expected to be so upbeat, dropping 10 per cent as a result of the government's HomeBuilder grants scheme coming to a close in March.
The Australian dollar was buying 77.32 US cents at 1731 AEST, higher from 77.16 US cents at Friday's close.
ON THE ASX
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed lower by 17.9 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 7161.6 on Monday.
* The All Ordinaries closed down by 17.3 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 7406.7.
* At 1731 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was up one point, or 0.01 per cent, to 7167.
One Australian dollar buys:
* 77.32 US cents, from 77.16 cents on Friday
* 84.84 Japanese yen, from 84.82 yen
* 63.40 Euro cents, from 63.36 cents
* 54.53 British pence, from 54.44 pence
* 106.58 NZ cents, from 106.54 cents.