The recovery is in "the very early innings," says Russell Croft, a portfolio manager at Baltimore-based Croft Leominster, which manages about $950 million in assets, according to The Wall Street Journal.

He has ridden the rally in Lennar (LEN), but now prefers investments in appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) and Ford Motor (F) whose F-150 pickup truck he says stands to benefit from increased demand for the services of contractors and construction workers. Mr. Croft says he is trying "to find the secondary or tertiary stocks that might be influenced by housing."