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 (i.e., a "buy") or underperform rating (i.e., a "sell") 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 No. 1 Materials and Construction buy
So, with that methodology as prelude, I present to you the No. 1 materials and construction stock (and the top runners-up) based on the number of CAPS members who have rated the stock an outperform. Only stocks rated four- or five-stars (i.e., consensus buys) are included.


Market Capitalization (in millions)

Outperform Picks

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Cemex (NYSE: CX)




Foster Wheeler (Nasdaq: FWLT)




Waste Management (NYSE: WM)




Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (NYSE: CBI)




Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR)




McDermott International (NYSE: MDR)




Leucadia National (NYSE: LUK)




Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

More CAPS members think Cemex is a buy than any other materials and construction stock. Do you think it deserves to be the No. 1 buy? Make your thoughts known in CAPS by clicking here. Or just click through to do further research on one of these popular stocks.

Anand Chokkavelu owns shares of Cemex. Waste Management is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Cemex and Leucadia National are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Chicago Bridge & Iron Company is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. Waste Management is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. The Fool has a disclosure policy.