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Asian stocks tumble on fresh Middle East tension

Energy shares advanced after Saudi Arabia expelled Iran’s diplomats following an attack on its embassy in Tehran.

Asian stocks tumble on fresh Middle East tension

Asian stocks fell on Monday after Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran, weighing on risk appetite, while a surge in crude oil boosted energy producers.

Japan's Nikkei index plunged 2.24% as of 11.43 a.m. in Tokyo, after climbing 9.9% last year for a fourth straight annual gain. Hong Kong shares tumbled 1.98% while Shanghai stocks tumbled 3.09%.

Singapore's Straits Times Index was down 1.30%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 0.22% with New Zealand's equity market closed for a holiday. South Korea’s Kospi Index was trading 1.18% lower.

Energy shares advanced after Saudi Arabia expelled Iran's diplomats from the country following an attack on its embassy in Tehran to protest the Saudis’ execution of a prominent Shiite cleric. The move marks the worst crisis in relations between the nations since the late 1980s.

Investors will assess China's Caixin manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which focuses on smaller and medium-sized companies, due on Monday.

In company news, Australian resource stocks Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, two biggest miners in the country, were trading up 1.45% and 1.79%.

Shares of Treasury Wine were down 0.72%. Earlier, the company announced that it had completed its acquisition of Diageo's wine business in the US and United Kingdom.

Elsewhere, Dick Smith shares were halted from trade pending an announcement on the company's funding position and debt financing covenants.

In Japan, shares of Toshiba were up 1.48% after reports of potential tie-ups with Sharp. Shares of Sharp were up 1.6%.

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