NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- If you feel the way I do about the housing recovery you're happy as all get-out to see both new and existing home sales rising almost monthly. Homebuilders are feeling more confident as well and new home construction is buoyant.Builders began construction in December 2012 at a seasonally adjusted rate of 954,000 new homes. That enthusiastic number is nearly double the rate hit during the Great Recession low reached in April 2009. On Wednesday the Commerce Department reports housing starts for January 2013. If that's not enough good news, after a three-day weekend the stock market indices hit new highs across the board, especially new all-time highs in small and mid-cap stocks.
Still, while many are still quite optimistic about the housing recovery, the majority of economists anticipate the rate of new construction to have ratcheted downward a bit. The question for stock investors is whether that will cool down the home-building related stocks such as Weyerhaeuser ( WY). WY has been one of the darlings of the sector and has risen dramatically over the past year, as the following chart demonstrates flamboyantly. Along with the share price I've included the diluted quarterly year-over-year earnings per share so you can see what's driving the price trend. WY data by YCharts
One of the analysts to whom I listen as often as possible is Jim Cramer. As the markets continued to move higher on Tuesday, Cramer and the co-portfolio manager of
"As a top Pacific Northwest timberland company (25% of sales), it is in terrific position to benefit from the turn in housing due to the declining supplies from British Columbia, improving Asian export demand and limited exposure to paper producing regions like the South and Northeast.
Another high-flyer is Blackstone Group ( BX), which since Nov. 16 has experienced a 48% skyrocket ride for its share price. BX is a diversified alternative asset management and financial advisory services company. Lately the spotlight has been on its real estate business. It's been reported by several reputable news services that BX has accumulated an enviable portfolio of houses (three million, approximately) the company bought at distressed pricing and plans to use as rentals. In many areas of the nation there is a shortage of rental houses, and those are the regions BX has been targeting. The best way to learn about Blackstone Group is to carefully peruse its informative Web site. You can easily find its full-year 2012 earnings report as well as its fourth quarter 2012 results. Personally speaking, I think this company is brilliantly led and operated. What I want to show you, however, is the five-year chart of the stock's performance. The share price movement looks like a roller-coaster ride, yet its trailing 12-month cash from investing helps me understand why the stock hit a new 52-week high on Tuesday. BX data by YCharts