The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

By David Sterman

NEW YORK ( StreetAuthority) -- When it comes to stock-picking, it's better to be early than late. I'd rather buy shares in a promising company and have to wait for the stock to jump than buy in long after others already have. So from time to time, I like to look back on stocks that I have been bullish about in the past to find cases where I was simply too early with my investment thesis. As long as the fundamental thesis remains intact, shares should still hold appeal, even if the stock has failed to rise thus far.

With that in mind, I looked over all of my stock picks from 2010 to see which ones haven't panned out yet. I focused on stocks for which the companies still appear like solid long-term holdings, but simply stumbled in 2010. These three stand out as stocks that should remain in focus for investors.

1. Charles Schwab (SCHW)

I profiled this leading brokerage firm in January 2010, noting that the company's steadily building market share throughout the downturn would lead to much better results when the economy was humming again. After all, a similar pattern played out in the recession of 2001. The company's results went on to rebound nicely, pushing shares up sharply in 2005, 2006 and again in 2007.

In hindsight, my bullish view of Schwab was quite premature. Shares have dropped 7% in the past 16 months, while the S&P 500 rose 17% in the same period. The underperformance is simply due to poor results. Sales grew less than 2% in 2010 and remain well below peak 2008 levels. Much of that is attributable to the low interest rate environment, which has resulted in very weak profits at Schwab's money market funds.

But signs are emerging that an upturn is finally at hand. Schwab earned $0.20 a share in the first quarter, its best quarterly showing in nearly three years, as the broker's rapid buildup of new clients has finally started to pay off. Most importantly, Schwab continues to attract new clients (net new accounts rose 3.7% in the first quarter).

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