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Weekend Reading: Nervous Observers

Good Sunday morning. As always, here are some articles and papers worth reading. First, however, a look back at the week that just finished, and a look forward at the week ahead.

It was a mixed week for the major markets. The Dow and the S&P 500 went in opposite directions, with the Dow gaining 0.5% and the S&P 500 losing 0.5%. The ever-inconoclastic Nasdaq lost 1.8% on the week. Click here for the weekly performance.

Looking forward to next week, most observers remain nervous. Iran, oil prices, and the outlook for interest rates are all weighing on investors. That said, there is a sizable contingent of people treating this as a welcome pullback and an opportunity for putting money to work in the market.

Turning to the economic week ahead, on Thursday we will see the consumer price index for February. The Reuters consensus is for a 0.1% rise. On Tuesday we will receive retail sales data for February, and the consensus is for a 0.8 percent decline. Looking further out, the big event remains the FOMC meeting scheduled for March 27 and 28. It's now a slam-dunk certainty that rates will go up again.

Next week is fairly quiet on the earnings front, with the fourth-quarter reporting season at last over. Reuters says that S&P 500 companies came in about 65% ahead of expectations, delivering the 14th consecutive quarter of year-over-year double-digit earnings growth. The main companies to watch this week will be the investment banks, with Goldman Sachs (GS - Get Report), Bear Stearns (BSC), and Lehman Brothers (LEH) all set to report results for their first quarter, which ended Feb. 28.

Finally, here are some articles and papers worth reading:

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RealMoney Barometer Poll

1 What would best describe your stance heading into the coming week of trading?
Bullish
Bearish
Neutral
2 Which of these sectors do you think is set to move up in the coming week?
3 Which of these sectors do you think is set to move down in the coming week?


View the results without voting
Dr. Paul Kedrosky is a former highly ranked sell-side technology equity analyst, and he currently runs a technology finance institute at the University of California, San Diego. He is also a venture partner with Ventures West, an institutional venture capital firm with more than $400-million under management. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. While Kedrosky cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he welcomes your feedback and invites you to send your comments to pkedrosky@thestreet.com .

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