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.

1. 20B/AMZN vs. 400B/WMT

By Don Dion
7:57 a.m. EST

Amazon ( AMZN) continues to get tremendous free publicity from Wal-Mart's ( WMT) attempt to build its online business. The timing of this war is perfect for the $20 billion in sales for Amazon vs. the $400 billion in sales for Wal-Mart as we head into the Thanksgiving weekend. Look for online sales to continue to grow at the expense of the shopping centers this holiday season. The First Trust Internet ETF ( FDN) is a good pick to play this trend.

Positions: Long FDN

2. Earnings Reactions

By Timothy Collins
9:39 a.m.
I am locking down profits on the three earnings plays from yesterday right here at the open.

Even though Citi Trends ( CTRN) beat, its guidance wasn't very strong. With the stock being off about a dollar from where I went short, I am going to step in and cover at least 75% here below 27.

Analog Devices ( ADI): strong earnings, strong outlook. I am taking half of the Dec 27.5 calls off the table at 2.00 or better.

American Eagle Outfitters ( AEO) has had a good reaction, and I am pulling in the small profit here at 1.15 or better on the January calls.

Positions: Long ADI, AEO, short CTRN

3. Over a Barrel

By Jonathan Heller
9:56 a.m. EST

Cracker Barrel ( CBRL) one of my favorite names in casual dining, beat the consensus for the first quarter, by 16 cents (78 cents vs. 62 cents). The company also raised 2010 guidance to a range of $3.05 to $3.30. There's also a real estate play here, as CBRL owns most of its locations.

Positions: Long CBRL

4. Banks

By Tim Melvin
11:28 a.m. EST

I see the number of troubled banks continues to rise this morning. The FDIC reported that there are now 552 troubled banks, up from 416 in June. This is the highest number in 16 years. Loan losses are up, and outstanding loans showed a decline of 2.8% as consumers continue to struggle and attempt to restructure their personal balance sheets.

The FDIC is actually in the red for the first time since 1991, and banks space more special assessments to rebuild it that will hurt profits and cash positions. They are also being required to prepay premiums for the next three years to rebuild the insurance fund.

It is still ugly for much of the banking industry, with few bright spots on the immediate horizon.

5. The Skinny on Retail

By Jim Cramer
12:43 p.m. EST

I think that people are just much more savvy about looking for the stores and making the splash. It is like any democratized activity: People have figured out how to shop, and the retailers are being proactive. However, as someone who has been around retail all my life, I want to reiterate that what matters is inventory, and inventory is not deep, and the stores are going to make a lot of money on the holiday. Macy's ( M) has lowered the bar so much, it might be ready to do its creep up into the next quarter....

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

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