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.


By Jim Cramer
8:02 a.m. EDT

Lots of upgrades today, including


TST Recommends

(UPS) - Get Report



(POL) - Get Report

. But the one I think is most telling is


(ETFC) - Get Report

. This $1.66 stock is upgraded by Citigroup on takeover potential and a major increase in account gains. Really intriguing, and I am sure this will be a major theme for today...

No positions


By Timothy Collins
9:43 a.m. EDT


US Natural Gas ETF

(UNG) - Get Report

is actually up this morning, and to me, it almost appears as if it is a squeeze. I watched the short share inventory disappear quicker than dark chocolate in my kitchen. I have bought some September 13-10 put spreads and 13-11 put spreads on the price spike to 10.61.

Positions: Short UNG via put spreads

The Song Remains the Same

By Tim Melvin
11:43 a.m. EDT

I just read an interesting, is somewhat disturbing article on the

Associated Press News Wire

. One had hoped that the credit crisis would have spurred some creative destruction on the banking industry. When all this started, I had real hope that the giant banks that had pretty much turned into enormous speculative pools would fade out of the picture, and that more conservatively run institutions like


(BBT) - Get Report


M&T Bank

(MTB) - Get Report

would grow to fill the void.

That has not happened. Instead, institutions like


(GS) - Get Report


JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

and even

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

are bigger than ever. They have almost no competition and are right back to the old ways. Trading profits are 50% of revenue at Morgan and Goldman. They are packaging mortgages into pools and selling them, albeit not at the pace of the bubble days, but it's incredible that someone out there is still buying these things.

It appears no lessons have been learned. I would not own the major money-center financial institutions on a bet. The cycle is going to repeat itself.

No positions

Credit Finding Buyers

By Tom Graff
1:06 p.m. EDT

Corporate bonds are working their way back to unchanged in active trading. Obviously, wider spreads and an improving stock market have brought out buyers. Consumer names and transports now look a little


on the day. Finance is also better.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

opened 5 wider, now unchanged.


(JPM) - Get Report

opened 2 wider, also unchanged.

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

opened 5 basis points wider, now 5 basis points tighter on the day.

Several new issues today.



$2 billion 5's and 10's at +245/255 respectively. Initial talk was +262/275.


(TXT) - Get Report

selling $500 million 5's and 10's, talk is +400 on each. Other issuers include


(TRUE) - Get Report



( VCP) and Cenovus Energy.

High-yield ETFs unchanged, while

iShares iBoxx Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF

(LQD) - Get Report

is mildly underperforming Treasuries.

Positions: Long AXP, JPM bonds. Long HYG, JNK, LQD.

ABT: Take Some Profits

By Kristen Koh Goldstein
3:39 p.m. EDT


Abbott Laboratories

(ABT) - Get Report

bumps up against its 200-day moving average, I have sold some of my Nov $45 calls purchased last week for about $2. They are currently trading at about $3. I felt it prudent to lock in some profits --defensive names don't often return 50%-plus in such a short period of time. I have also sold some of my


(PEP) - Get Report


Procter & Gamble

(PG) - Get Report

PG calls to lock in some profits.

Positions: ABT, ABT calls, PG calls, PEP and PEP calls

This article was written by a staff member of