Shares of Rockwell Automation (ROK - Get Report)  are up 12% thus far in 2016 despite the slow growing economy. Brian Milligan, portfolio manager for the Ave Maria Growth Fund (AVEGX - Get Report) , said the industrial equipment-maker has plenty of organic growth to take the stock higher on its own.
 
"Rockwell is the largest pure play industrial automation company and they have a pronounced competitive advantage," said Milligan. "They have tremendous management and you can tell that by the 35% return on equity."
 
The Ave Maria Growth Fund is up 6.5% thus far in 2016, according to Morningstar. The $329 million fund has returned an average of 9.2% annually over the past three years, outpacing 71% of its Morningstar category peers.    
 
Milligan is also bullish on Copart (CPRT - Get Report) , which has seen its shares rise 16% so far in 2016. He said the used automobile seller benefits from a "strong network effect" that competitors are unable to match.
 
"It is very hard for anybody to match Copart's scale," said Milligan. "And they are making so much money in their salvaged auto business, and there are going to be a lot more salvaged autos for sale in a few years because car accidents are on the rise. Too many people are texting and driving and crashing."
 
Moody's (MCO - Get Report) , down 2% year-to-date, is another one of Milligan's top picks, primarily because it operates in an oligopoly with Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings.
 
"They have pricing power where they can increase prices 3% to 4% a year," said Milligan, added that increased bond issuance in Europe is going to boost Moody's bottom line this year.
 
Finally, Milligan is a fan of MSC Industrial Direct  (MSM - Get Report) , up 31% in 2016, saying the industrial supply company has an amazing e-commerce platform.
 
"The high cost of switching in its metalworking segment keeps customers in house and also presents a high barrier to entry for competitors," said Milligan.