Weekend Reading: Litany of Bad News

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 weekahead 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 anyprospect 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 theabsence 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 willalso see data on February retail sales, plus a preliminary reading onMarch consumer sentiment on Friday. Figures on the January internationaltrade deficit are due Friday.

As for earnings, next week will see reports from Hovnanian ( HOV), Korn/Ferry ( KFY) and National Semiconductor ( NSM), among others.

Finally, here are some articles and papers worth reading:

Editor's note: To access some of these stories, registration or a subscription may be required. Please check the individual links for the sites' policies.

  • Energy market pessimism pushes prices down. ( Oil& Gas Journal)
  • Secondary market slowdown? ( IDD)
  • From Yachts to Yahtzee? Socialites Run for Cover, Start ThrowingParties at Home. ( TheNew York Observer)
  • Profile of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. ( Bloomberg)
  • China's 2009 rebound is pure fantasy. ( Bloomberg)
  • Barron's picks Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) and Bank of America (BAC), and pans theU.S. economy ( Barron's)
  • Making solar cheaper than coal. ( CNet)
  • 1 in 5 U.S. mortgages are underwater, report says. ( LosAngeles Times)
  • Harvard: the Inside Story of Its Finance Meltdown. ( Forbes.com)
  • Thomas Friedman: The inflection is near? ( The New York Times)
  • Allan Blinder: Nationalize the Banks? Hey, Not So Fast. ( The New York Times)
  • John McCain: Senate Probe of Economic Crisis Needed. ( The WashingtonPost)
  • The One Country That Might Avoid Recession Is... Brazil. ( Time)
  • All Boarded Up -- How Cleveland is Dealing With Mass Foreclosure.(The New York Times)
  • Out of the Rubble. ( Institutional Investor)
  • This Week In Petroleum. ( EIA)
  • Obama Names Three to Key Treasury Posts. ( TheStreet.com/ AP)
  • AIG (AIG) counterparties to credit default swaps revealed. ( Fortune)
  • Let sleeping shadow banking systems lie. ( Reuters)
  • Myron Scholes: "Blow up" the OTC derivatives. ( Bloomberg)
  • A.I.G., Where Taxpayers' Dollars Go to Die. ( The New York Times)
  • Even for Stock Market Veterans, It's Uncharted Territory. ( The New York Times)
  • Las Vegas Suffers a Recession Hangover. ( BusinessWeek)
  • Global water crisis: World running dry. ( Bloomberg)
  • China's disappearing billionaires. ( Bloomberg)
  • President Obama's wishful first budget. ( TheEconomist)
  • Young Americans as the "loss generation." ( TheBoston Globe)

RealMoney Barometer Poll
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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?

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At time of publication, Kedrosky had no positions in stocks mentioned, although holdings can change at any time.

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. He maintains a widely read blog called Infectious Greed.

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 appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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