Japanese shares rose to a seven-year high on the first day of the month, while the rest of Asia's indices declined on plunging oil prices and key Chinese data.
Oil markets continued their downwards spiral on Monday with U.S. crude and Brent crude trading at their weakest levels since 2009, sending energy stocks sinking and airlines rallying. Prices have been in free fall following OPEC's (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) decision to maintain production on Thursday.
"There is a possibility that if this price war become unmanageable, we could see prices down about $40 per barrel." said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance Securities.
Precious metals were in focus with spot gold tumbling 2 percent and silver sliding 6 percent to a five-year low after Swiss voters rejected proposals to boost gold reserves over the weekend.
Investors also digested two separate gauges of Chinese November factory activity on Monday. The official purchasing manager's index (PMI) fell to 50.3, missing estimates for a 50.6 figure and slowing from October's reading of 50.8. Meanwhile, HSBC's final reading hit a six-month low of 50, in line with the bank's preliminary figure but lower than October's final reading of 50.4