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. The Long and the Short of It
By Mark Haefele
8:17 a.m. EDT

Insurers are coming in strong this quarter. XL Capital ( XL) and Assurant ( AIZ) reported nice growth in book value. XL is already up on the beat.

On the other hand, First Solar ( FSLR) is getting hit hard. It is difficult to be a growth stock when your revenue and margins are falling, and the company doesn't know what is happening with government subsidies in its largest market, Germany.

Long XL, AIZ. Short FSLR.


2. Data, Phils
By Robert Marcin
8:44 a.m. EDT

The GDP number was decent, but it's backward-looking and subject to revision. Fourth-quarter GDP will be much more important to the market from here than the third quarter was.

The continuing claims show improvement, but that is solely due to expiration of benefits. When you add the supplemental programs, the unemployed are as high as ever. The initial claims number is disturbingly high, considering the lack of jobs availability.

The Phils did it with their ace and power. The Yanks are formidable, but I think the Phils can take 'em.

No positions.


3. Financials
By Timothy Collins
9:15 a.m. EDT

Just taking a quick guess based on delta and the move we are seeing the Direxion 3x Daily Financial Bull ETF ( FAS), we could see an opening somewhere around $7.20 to $7.50 per contract with FAS around $73 per share. At that price, I will take at least half my open long contracts off the table. The current average price of my contracts is $6.25, so my inclination is to take a 15 or 20% profit on an overnight hold.

Also, I am going to close out the rest of my Direxion 3x Daily Energy Bear ( ERY) shares and short calls at the open. I am short more calls than I am long shares, and the holding started to move against me yesterday after lightening up more on shares than calls. With a nice profit still in hand, I am going to lock in the profits here, and reassess the market. This is also a position where my InterETF and TangleTrades become more active, and offer great opportunities.

Long FAS calls, ERY shares; short ERY calls.


4. Blogs Don't Kill People
By Howard Simons
1:10 p.m. EDT

Tom, one of the reasons we have a republican form of government and a representative democracy is our founders understood that while everyone has a right to contribute, most of us at most times have little to offer.

The Internet has removed that barrier, for better or worse. It is as if each of us could transport ourselves instantly to Washington (or Albany, Annapolis or, heaven forfend, Topeka) and stick our two cents in at zero cost. Participation rates in government would increase, but it would be a real stretch to say we'd be better off for it, and this is coming from a Libertarian who wakes up in the morning fearing what our elected solons will do next.

In the investment arena, how many people have managed their defined contribution plans as well as they should have? In most ways, this should be a golden age, literally and figuratively, for investors in terms of access to information, analysis, instruments and low trading costs. On average, the results do not confirm this.

The end result in politics seems to be polarization; in journalism, the inward-focused blogosphere, and in investing an increasingly cartoonish focus where terms like "the bulls" and "the bears" slung about endlessly treat what should be a serious endeavor into some tawdry Celebrity Death Match.

No positions.


5. O'Reilly Reverses
By Gary Morrow
1:19 p.m. EDT

O'Reilly Automotive ( ORLY) is up 12% today on heavy trade. The auto parts retailer is recovering from yesterday's pre-earnings action that dropped it to fresh six-month lows.

O'Reilly's third-quarter report (released after Wednesday's close) has sparked a furious reversal on a big spike in trade. O'Reilly has already traded more than double its daily average after a big upside opening gap.

ORLY Daily (Nasdaq) -- O'Reilly Automotive
ORLY Daily Chart
Source: TradeStation

The stock is now at new highs for the month and is leaving behind solid support in the process. The stock's relatively high short interest ratio of 6.4 is certainly helping the advance and will likely keep a big under the stock in the near term. Strong support is in place between $35.90 and $36.70. On the upside, I expect the stock to encounter significant selling just above $40.00. This may knock the stock back for a test of support.

No positions.


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

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