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Weekend Reading: Running Out of Upside Momentum

Editor's Note: This is a bonus story from Paul Kedrosky, whose commentary usually appears only on RealMoney. We're offering it today to TheStreet.com readers. To read Paul's commentary regularly, please click here for information about a free trial to RealMoney.






Good morning. Here are some articles and papers worth reading over the weekend. First, however, a look at the week that just finished, and a look forward at the week ahead.

Is that it? Having spent a few weeks on the upside, the major markets took a breather last week. The three finished mixed, with the Nasdaq Composite off 0.5%, while the S&P 500 and Dow went the other way (slightly), gaining 0.7% and 0.2%, respectively. Click here for the weekly performance.

Looking forward to next week, it seems likely markets will continue to be somewhat weak. After all, there is little earnings news left to drive things, and the double-whammy of Alan Greenspan's inflation comments on Wednesday and last Friday's higher-than-expected core PPI figures will make many people nervous.

Is inflation really on the rise, though? The core PPI was up 0.8% in January, which annualizes to more than 8%, but there are reasons to think that January was anomalous. Either way, we will get consumer inflation data this week, and while that won't settle things, it will help give a sense of where January really came in.

Turning to the best and worst performers of the week, last week's list of best-performing stocks was led by Canadian Superior Energy (SNG). The tiny Canadian exploration company, which trades on the Amex and the Toronto Stock Exchange, was told by the TSE last week that it met the exchange's continued listing requirements. There had been much speculation in, well, speculative circles that the company would be delisted, so the news was greeted gleefully, and the stock flew up 35% on the week (only just edging out old favorite TravelZoo (TZOO), in case you're curious). Click here for the winners.



Over on the list of weekly losers, pride of place went to Audible (ADBL). The company, which deals in online audio content, has been a steady performer with impressive growth, so analysts had set up some reasonably high hurdles for the firm in 2005. This week the company kicked most of those hurdles over rather than clearing them. It announced that due to spending initiatives it would not turn in the 38 cents a share that analysts were expecting, but it would be closer to, oh, 4 cents or so. As you might expect, investors didn't take kindly to the surprise, and they drove the stock down more than 30% on the week. Some people really do need to learn the gentle art of managing expectations. Click here for the losers.

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