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.

Pullback Plays


By Alan Farley
12:12 p.m. EDT Tech stocks are a tough trade, after the Nasdaq-100 ( NDX) broke its two-month rising channel on Wednesday. However, a number of other stocks and sectors have held up reasonably well through the selling pressure.

Here's a quick list of good-looking pullback plays:
  • Ameristar Casinos (ASCA)
  • Boyd Gaming (BYD)
  • General Cable (BGC)
  • Oceaneering (OII)
  • Bill Barrett (BBG)

No positions.

Bearish Hedge on the Dow


By Timothy Collins
10:14 a.m. EDT

We are buying the ProShares Ultrashort Dow Jones ( DDM) May 28 puts for 50 cents and simultaneously selling the Dow Jones Diamonds ( DIA) May 83 puts for 67 cents.

This is in a 1.5-to-1 ratio of DDM to DIA for a total net cost of 8 cents. This is a bearish trade. It will profit from a sideways or down move but would lose the 8 cents on a move higher in the Dow. This is a fast-moving market, so prices will change. Profits will accelerate on a downward move in the Dow.

Long DDM May 28 puts, short DIA May 83 puts

Breaking the Channel Lines


By Helene Meisler
8:47 a.m. EDT

After I wrote my column last night, I reread John Magee's chapter on channel lines and discovered something interesting.

The amount (of points) that the chart fails to reach the top of the channel by (in the Nasdaq's case it's about 40 points) is usually the amount by which it falls from the lower trendline before having its first snapback rally.

In this case we broke at 1,700 and closed last night at 1,664, so at 1,660 we'd be pretty close to that 40-point "number." That is in keeping with my thought that it's expiration week and we should have "one different" day. As I said in my column, it's usually a down day, but this has been a down week, so why not an up day?

I'd look for a respite from the downside.

No positions.

Morning Prep


By Ken Wolff

The PowerShares QQQ ( QQQQ) is trading flat after a drop caused by jobless claims coming in higher than expected (637,000 vs. 610,000 expected) and PPI up (0.3% vs. 0.2% expected).

The numbers should help us on our way to QQQQ at $32, which is my rough target for this pullback. Yesterday I expected a small pop before the sellers came in, but we went south and never looked back. We did not see the end-of-day short-covering either.

I am going to look for early selling and we cannot game the buying until we actually see it. It's going to be choppy and mixed and difficult to trade.

No positions.

A Look at Expiration


By Scott Rothbort
8:13 a.m. EDT

Looking at May expiration for the S&P 500 (SPX), which takes place tomorrow at the open, it appears that the 900 strike has an overwhelming amount of open interest -- about 200,000 contracts, relative to the 875 strike -- about 70,000 contracts. Thus, all things being equal, we should drift a bit higher today. Of course that could be negated by economic news or more anti-capitalist behavior out of Washington as we had yesterday.

If you are purely looking at the S&P Depositary Receipts ( SPY), then the 85 strike has the largest open interest, with nearly 280,000 contracts vs. about 210,000 for the 90 strike. However, the SPX is 10 times the SPY, so the dollar delta bet on the SPX is far greater at 900/90 than the dollar delta bet at 850/85.

No positions.

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.

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

More from Jim Cramer

All 2018 Graduates Must Watch Jim Cramer's Bucknell Commencement Speech

All 2018 Graduates Must Watch Jim Cramer's Bucknell Commencement Speech

Jim Cramer: It's Okay to Fail, but It's Not Okay to Quit

Jim Cramer: It's Okay to Fail, but It's Not Okay to Quit

Video: Jim Cramer on Tariffs, the Market Rally, Caterpillar and Micron

Video: Jim Cramer on Tariffs, the Market Rally, Caterpillar and Micron

Jim Cramer Has 2 Tips for the Graduating Class of 2018

Jim Cramer Has 2 Tips for the Graduating Class of 2018

Video: Why the Stock Market Is Discounting China Trade Fears for Now

Video: Why the Stock Market Is Discounting China Trade Fears for Now