Good afternoon, and welcome to another edition of Weekend Reading. First, a look at the week that just finished, then a look forward to the week ahead and, lastly, a summary of articles and papers worth reading.It has become a litany, but last week was another awful week for major U.S. markets. In fact, it was the fourth week of declines, with the Dow down 6.2%, the Nasdaq sliding 6.1% and the Standard & Poor's 500 falling 7%. Blame a long list of horrible economic data, plus bank death-struggles, and, oh yes, auto company death-rattles. This is the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and the market has now more or less given up on any prospect of a second-half recovery. Looking forward to next week, it is hard to see what will change. While many, myself included, keep thinking that a savage relief rally is inevitable, so far the stream of bad news has beaten down every attempt by the market to go higher. In the absence of a floor being set under the U.S. banks, whether via nationalization, a coherent good/bad bank plan or a meteor strike that distracts people from the collapse of capitalism, the concerns about bank solvency are not going anywhere. And neither are concerns about the future of the U.S. auto companies, especially General Motors ( GM). Turning to economic indicators, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak to the Council on Foreign Relations on Tuesday. We will also see data on February retail sales, plus a preliminary reading on March consumer sentiment on Friday. Figures on the January international trade deficit are due Friday.