As an investor, it doesn't pay to follow the crowd.

In this series, though, we highlight a possible exception -- the collective wisdom of our CAPS community. Read the next section if you're unfamiliar with our methodology. Skip it if you want to go straight to the results.

Why this crowd is different
Jumping into a stock because your rich neighbor did, or because you heard about it from your friend's uncle who used to work on Wall Street, or because CNBC has been talking about it nonstop is a recipe for disaster.

If there's one thing I've learned as a stock analyst, it's that any stock can be gussied up to sound like a world-beater. If there's a second thing I've learned, it's that being a smart person doesn't make you a good investor.

In the hands of a smart person with good communication skills, the never-were and never-will-be stocks sound like tickets to instant fortune. The ancient Greek philosophers made the distinction between rhetoric and knowledge. The former is convincing; the latter is true.

That's why we factor in track record in our Motley Fool CAPS community. We invite everyone to give stocks an outperform (akin to a "buy" call) or underperform rating (akin to a "sell" call) in CAPS. We then use those opinions to calculate a rating for each stock -- from one to five stars (five being the best). But -- and this is a big distinction -- we give more weight to the opinions of folks whose picks have performed well in the past.

The top 7 materials and construction high yielders
So, with that methodology as prelude, I present to you the seven four- and five-star-rated materials and construction stocks that yield 2% or more that have garnered the most outperform ratings by CAPS members. I used a minimum market capitalization of $100 million and the proviso that it must be listed on a major U.S. exchange. Remember, stocks are rated on a five-star scale by our CAPS community, so four- and five-star stocks are consensus outperforms.

Company Name

Market Capitalization (in millions)

P/E Ratio

Dividend Yield

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Outperform Picks

Waste Management (NYSE: WM)

$16,233

16.3

3.7%

*****

1,687

US Ecology (Nasdaq: ECOL)

$247

22.1

5.3%

****

511

Vulcan Materials (NYSE: VMC)

$4,831

NM

2.7%

****

465

Republic Services (NYSE: RSG)

$11,593

30.3

2.6%

****

428

RPM International (NYSE: RPM)

$2,286

12.6

4.7%

****

320

Preformed Line Products (Nasdaq: PLPC)

$180

7.6

2.3%

****

283

Apogee Enterprises (Nasdaq: APOG)

$269

12.8

3.4%

****

271

Source: Motley Fool CAPS. NM= not meaningful.

I highlighted trash disposal companies Waste Management and Republic Services in a column earlier this year. I found them compelling because they are likely to be around in 20 years, are easy to understand but hard to love, and pay solid dividends. Forced to choose between the two, I slightly preferred Waste Management. The CAPS community seems to be coming to a similar conclusion, rating Waste Management five stars vs. four for Republic Services.

Which is your favorite? Make your thoughts known in CAPS by clicking here. Or just go there to do further research on one of these stocks.

 

Anand Chokkavelu doesn't own shares of any company mentioned. Vulcan Materials and Waste Management are Motley Fool Inside Value choices. Republic Services and Waste Management are Motley Fool Income Investor picks. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.