NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Sometimes the best stocks are found in the simplest of industries.
While the Facebook (FB) IPO had sex appeal, and we anxiously await the upcoming Twitter offering, basic companies that provide basic services are delivering outsized returns to investors.
I have written many times about the rebound in housing -- it's happening right now. I'm not a "Johnny come lately" to this booming sector. I started investing in housing during the summer of 2012 after I interviewed a well-known homebuilding CEO from the Southern California area on my radio show.I was shocked to hear him declare emphatically: "Yes, this recovery is for real." He went on to say: "In fact, in many markets there is a shortage of skilled labor!" I could not believe my ears. But, then again, fueled by 100-year-low interest rates, I was seeing the charts of a wide range of building-related stocks begin to take off. I wrote about Home Depot (HD) in August, when I added it to my conservative growth model portfolio. The stock is up about 25% since then. I wrote another article in October about how the building sector was hotter than any other. I singled out housing mutual funds, exchange traded funds and individual stocks I liked at the time. At the time, I wrote about Minnesota-based Toro (TTC). I still own Toro in my aggressive growth model portfolio as the stock continues to hit new highs. It's up almost 25% since I bought it. In November, everyone was clamoring about how cheap Apple (AAPL) was. The problem was that Apple lacked the other two characteristics I require: performance and a healthy stock chart. Instead, I wrote about another housing-related stock called Ocwen Financial (OCN) because it met all three criteria. Ocwen is up over 60% since becoming a member of my aggressive growth model portfolio. I currently own 26 stocks in the portfolio, which is up 11% this year, after fees and expenses, as of last Friday. Today I'm going to focus on Watsco.