The weekend is over and Asian markets are starting the week lower.

Japan’s Nikkei is down 1.0%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 is down 0.1%.

Korea’s KOSPI is up a modest 0.05%. 

Data out on Monday showed that Japanese retail sales climbed 11% year-over-year in March, this is the biggest one month gain since March 1997. The surge in retail sales was driven by consumers rushing to stock up on goods ahead of the consumption tax hike. 

Meanwhile, data over the weekend showed that Chinese industrial profits climbed 10.1% in the first quarter.

The focus over the weekend however continued to be the rising tension between Ukraine and Russia, as pro-Russian rebels continue to hold international military observers in eastern Ukraine, having released just one of the hostages. Meanwhile, western countries are expected to impose more sanctions on Russia.

U.S. futures are modestly lower. S&P futures are down 0.01%, while Nasdaq futures are down 0.06%, and Dow futures are down 0.06%.

Of course in the U.S. this week, all eyes are on the FOMC meeting and the April jobs report.

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