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.

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1. Retail Sales

By Robert Marcin

9:53 a.m. EST

I am not gonna spin it away with retail sales. I am just going to give you the numbers. November 2009, $352.1 billion, November 2008, $352.5 billion (as reported, revised to $345 billion), November 2007, $376.8 billion.

All of the growth comes from revising down past data, or seasonally adjusting the current data. You can believe the government, or you can believe the bankrupt retailers, the retailers missing their comp targets in a big way last month, or the consumer polls that say people are spending 8% less on average this holiday than last year.

Remember, the government statistics told us we were growing a full year into the recession, they said there was a "deflation" problem when inflation was 6% and oil was soaring to $150, and they said the financial system was "fundamentally sound" last summer. I will dismiss the massage therapists at the BLS and Commerce Department, and believe reality. Avoid retail stocks.

The bank trade has faded, and the bank bulls have gone away. The housing trade has faded, and the housing bulls have disappeared. The auto trade has faded post-"Clunkers," and the auto bulls with it. Retail will fade like the others, on the basis of the U.S. consumer/housing market. In my opinion, retail is next.

No positions.

2. Gold

By Timothy Collins

10:30 a.m. EST

Gold 12/11/2009 10:30 AM ESTI am looking for the possibility that the

SPDR Gold Trust

(GLD) - Get Report

tests the 108 level. In that area, I would be a buyer with a tight stop around 105. Also, I would be very interested in picking up the

Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners

(GDXJ) - Get Report

. However, with the GDXJ, I would be looking at selling the December calls, one strike out of the money, against the stock position.

No positions.

3. GLD Test, Free Money and the 'Why Bother?' Trade

By Howard Simons

11:36 a.m. EST

Tim C., I think your

TST Recommends

SPDR Gold Trust

(GLD) - Get Report

will not only test 108, but it will take a shot down to 104 before all is said and done.

While the world's central banks are doing their best to see who can counterfeit their own currency the fastest, they have been unable to create inflation as the banking system is impaired and is not converting reserves into credit. While this game ultimately will end with an inflation outbreak, "ultimately" is not a definite time frame.

Moreover, you still have to convert gold back into paper to use it, and when that happens you will find you have not earned a real gain at all. I expect a lot of gold buyers to get frustrated and cash their gains in as they say, "Why bother?" in the same way Treasury bill investors have learned to accept near-zero yields.

Why bother chasing yield via maturity extension, risk in asset allocation or inflation protection in gold? And let's remember, the U.S. government banned monetary holding of gold between 1933 and 1974. Sometimes past performance predicts future results.

No positions.

4. Treasury and Fed

By Tom Graff

12:40 p.m. EST

Yesterday I got a question from Bob Marcin about how much of the long bond auction went to the

Fed

. Some readers wanted to know how they could follow that for themselves. This figure is part of the Treasury's regular auction reporting which comes out with the auction results. The recent long bond results are

here

.

The Fed's purchases are listed as SOMA, which stands for System Open Market Account. Read more about SOMA

here

.

No positions.

5. Independent Pressure on the Turkish Lira

By Marc Chandler

1:03 p.m. EST

As the dollar rallies on constructive economic news, emerging market currencies are being hit by a wave of profit-taking. However there is independent pressure on the Turkish lira. The Constitutional Court just banned the main pro-Kurdish political party for links to militants and 37 members have been banned from politics for five years. The immediate thoughts are the implication for social unrest in Turkey and the electoral impact.

The lira has sold off roughly 1%, which is more than most of the other emerging market currencies. The lira is now trading below where it was on Dec 1st when Fitch upgraded Turkey's sovereign rating by two notches. Thus far the dollar has held just below the week's high near TRY1.5143. A break of that area, however, could see a move toward TRY1.5220. A break of this area could signal a retest on the spike high from late Nov near TRY1.56.

The yield on Turkey's 2-year bond is up 3 bp to 9.36% today. The yield has risen 20 bp on the week. In contrast, today the Greek 2-year yield is off 8 bp and is up 119 bp on the week.

No positions.

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