The RealMoney contributors are in the business of trading and investing all day on the basis of ongoing news flow. Below, we offer the top five ideas that RealMoney contributors posted today and how they played those ideas.

TheStreet.com

brings you the news all day, and with

RealMoney's

"Columnist Conversation," you can see how the pros are playing it on a real-time basis. Here are the top five ideas played today. To see all that

RealMoney

offers,

click here

for a free trial.

1. Utility Earnings

By Tim Melvin

1:42 p.m. EDT

If it really is getting better, why are the utilities reporting lower earnings and given reduced or weak guidance?

Duke Energy

(DUK) - Get Report

missed estimates this morning, as did

Entergy

(EMO) - Get Report

.

According to the Energy Information Association industrial demand for energy is down 12% nationally. Duke reported demand that fell even further. Industrial demand was off 18% in the Carolinas and 20% in the company's Midwestern operations. The CEO at Duke told investors that industrial demand may be stabilizing, but he does not see it improving anytime soon. The company CFO affirmed this, saying it may well be 2011 before demand shows any meaningful increase.

Even with all the cost-cutting that has gone on in corporations this year, merely stabilizing at these levels does not bode well for earnings going forward.

No positions.

2. Canada vs. Europe

By Marc Chandler

1:04 p.m. EDT

In recent weeks we have recommended long Canadian dollar positions against the U.S. dollar and the Mexican peso. Over the past month, the Canadian dollar has been among the best-performing currencies, gaining 8.6% against the dollar and more than 7.5% against the Mexican peso.

We are concerned that from a fundamental perspective, much of the good news for Canada has been discounted, such as higher commodity prices and the recovery in the auto sector. The persistent strength of the Canadian dollar risks some condemnation by Canadian officials who are worried that it may hamper the recovery.

At the same time, the technical indicators are stretched for the Canadian dollar, suggesting that the risk is for a deeper correction. That said, sentiment toward the U.S. dollar is poor, and we are wary of Mexico's fundamental backdrop, especially with the peso trading on the strong side of its range. Therefore, for those who share of concerns about the Canadian dollar, consider selling the Canadian dollar against the euro or sterling.

The euro has slumped more than 7% against CAD and appears to have begun carving out a bottom. A move above CAD1.5450-60 area would target CAD1.5625 and possibly CAD1.5750. For a particularly tight stop, consider CAD1.5320, which if the euro broke would call into question whether CAD.15200 is really the bottom.

For its part, sterling peaked against the Canadian dollar a little before the euro and proceeded to depreciate by nearly 8.25% against the Loonie since June 30. After hitting a low on July 24, sterling has done more work carving out a bottom. The low was near CAD1.7735 and today it is flirting with CAD1.81. There is near-term potential toward CAD1.85 and then CAD1.87. A tight stop could probably be set just below CAD1.80.

No positions.

Corporate Bonds Mixed vs. Treasuries

Tom Graff

10:37 a.m. EDT

Looks like corporate bonds are generally flat to slightly wider vs. Treasuries. But it seems like a cautious widening. I'm hearing a little profit-taking, but other than that, no selling.

Meanwhile, lots of supply.

GE

(GE) - Get Report

Capital is bringing a "benchmark" sized deal (which technically means $250 million or more) and the talk was +237 to +250. The announcement hit my Bloomberg at 8:37 a.m. EDT. By 9:08 a.m., it had $4 billion in orders.

Similarly

Coca Cola

(KO) - Get Report

announced a $250 million 10-year deal at around +100 (later revised to +95). That came to me at 8:58 a.m. and the company had closed the deal by 9:10 a.m. with over $2 billion in orders.

So there is plenty of demand for corporate bonds, and I'd continue to view any backup in spreads as a pause, not a reversal.

No positions.

4. Pending Home Sales

By Jim Cramer

10:02 a.m. EDTHow quickly will the bears immediately discredit this NAR number, even as I have looked at it and it is "clean." It confirms once again that the end of June was the bottom in house price depreciation.

These are impressive numbers. But I know they will be scoffed at like every other one as the housing bears dig in their heels. As someone who guaranteed a loss on any house bought two years ago, I reserve the right to make this point.

No positions.

5. XLE InterETF

By Timothy Collins

9:57 a.m. EDT

Finding two attractive plays in the energy field. We are buying:

Long 1

Direxion Daily Energy Bull 3X Shares

(ERX) - Get Report

August 36 put while simultaneously selling 2.1 contracts of the

Energy Select SPDR

(XLE) - Get Report

August 52 puts, so a 10 by 21 ratio, for a net credit right around 0.30 per ratio.

You can also use the same ratio on the ERX August 34 puts coupled with the XLE August 51 puts for a slightly smaller net credit.

This trade will keep its net credit, and earn possibly more, in an XLE flat to bullish move. There is some risk on a trending, extreme, downside move.

Long ERX puts, short XLE puts.

For free trial to

Real Money

, where you can get updated trading and investment ideas throughout the course of the day, please click on the tile below.

Image placeholder title

This article was written by a staff member of RealMoney.com.