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First-Half Laggards

By Alan Farley
8:26 a.m. EDT
Worst-performing groups -- first half of 2009 (using common indices):
  • Airlines: -27%
  • Banks: -12%
  • Water Utilities: -12%
  • Insurance: -11%
  • REITs: -7%
  • Defense: -4%
  • Drugs: -3%
  • Telecom: -3%
  • Transportation: -3%
  • Oil: -3%
  • Utilities: -1%

Banks are the real kicker on this list because of all the recovery hype. Their six-month performance shows they're still critically injured, with a "guarded" outlook into year's end.


Acorda

By Adam Feuerstein
9:06 a.m.

Acorda Therapeutics ( ACOR - Get Report) shares are down this morning despite what looks like a strong partnership deal for the company's multiple sclerosis drug signed with Biogen Idec ( BIIB - Get Report).

My best guess here is that investors are disappointed that Acorda was not acquired outright.

No positions


Exited URE

By Christopher Grey
10:38 a.m. EDT

I have exited my recent Ultra Real Estate ProShares ( URE - Get Report) trade today with approximately a 10% profit in a little more than a week. My reasons for exiting include a significant profit in a short time frame, expected seasonal weakness in the market after the 4th of July and my perception that the overall market is in more of trading range with limited upside at these levels. I am not really bearish or bullish, but more neutral.

As a hedge against holding a lot of cash, I do have a significant position in gold via ProShares Gold Double Long ( DGP). This is not really a trade, but I would exit the position if it hit certain price targets.

Positions: Long DGP


Spartan Plunges

By Tim Melvin
12:47 p.m. EDT

Shares of Spartan Motors ( SPAR - Get Report) are getting crushed today, down nearly 30%. The companies they had expected to do subcontract work on army vehicles lost out to Oshkosh ( OSK). Spartan had contracts with General Dynamics ( GD - Get Report) and Force Protection ( FPRT) as well as Boeing ( BA - Get Report) and was counting on one of the three them winning the contract. Apparently the market expected the contract would be rewarded to one of the chassis-maker's contractors as well. The contract was potentially worth more than a billion dollars and involves assembling all terrain vehicles for use in Afghanistan.

Yet another reason I choose to invest based on absolute values and not expectations.

No positions


Thoughts on Thin Holiday Conditions

By Howard Simons
10:23 a.m. EDT

Most of us link market thinness to the conditions such as we have seen all this week and fear what something such as the employment situation report can do intraday.

I look at it differently: Most of us are willing to dismiss market moves of significance if they occur in weeks such as this. I think back one year ago when the energy stocks in general and the exploration and production group in particular started to dive. The energy commodities peaked within two weeks and did not stop collapsing until year's end.

Every day is real. If the buyers have been showing up today and the sellers have not, then we know there is underlying strength until notified otherwise. Once we start making special cases and conditional excuses, we create nothing but confusion for ourselves.

I can recall a number of large moves at or around holiday times. Nearly all of them were significant in the direction established during thin conditions.

Positions: Do these conditions make my portfolio look fat?


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