EDITORS' PICKS

In this week's essential reading guide, Kohler investigates the death of an export boom, Gottliebsen takes a long view of the markets, Bartholomeusz wonders if the Commonwealth Bank is pushing the envelope and Maley looks for Macquarie's missing millions.

How to crush an export boom
Alan Kohler
The changes to Australia’s skilled migration program this week are driven by ideological thinking and have thrown a $16 billion export industry into chaos.

The great reckoning begins
Alan Kohler
Governments, including Australia's, have grossly understated the scale of their fiscal problems. Even worse, as the wanton stimulus spending comes back to bite us, the Rudd government is still spending.

Rise of the reluctant banker
Robert Gottliebsen
If Stockland's experience is anything to go by, the unwillingness of banks to lend to small business has forced big organisations to take on the role of banker.

Bulls and bears fight it out
Robert Gottliebsen
Picking the short-term market moves is currently very difficult, as bulls and bears take it in turns to dominate. Longer term, however, the picture is much clearer.

The CBA ceiling
Stephen Bartholomeusz
The Commonwealth Bank is on something of a roll, boosted by growing net interest margins. But how profitable can our big banks get before incurring the government's regulatory wrath?

The strength behind BHP's strategy
Stephen Bartholomeusz
BHP's half-year results highlight the unique structure of the group and explain why it was able to maintain an already aggressive capital expenditure program through the financial crisis.

Macquarie's missing money
Karen Maley
The biggest mystery in Macquarie’s briefing yesterday was why the $500 million the group gouged from its former stable of listed infrastructure funds didn't appear to help its bottom line.

Next on the chopping block
Karen Maley
The European Union’s pledge of support means Greece is saved, at least temporarily. But the big question for markets is which debt-laden country will be next.

Canberra's ritual failure
Alister Drysdale
For historic legislation like the ETS, voters deserve better than a disgraceful parliamentary ritual that hinders real debate.

No speed limit
Giles Parkinson
Warren Buffett's stake in electric car maker BYD has grown from $US230 million to $US1.7 billion in a year. No surprise then that major banks have decided to back other electric vehicle projects.

Palmer's faux pas
Isabelle Oderberg
Clive Palmer's retraction of a mammoth coal deal announcement will get him plenty of headlines. But in Hong Kong, where he plans to list his company Resourcehouse, it's generating another kind of publicity.