Suddenly, signs of a nascent pickup in housing are everywhere, from rising building permits and housing starts to improved sentiment among builders. Add higher lumber prices to the list, along with a powerful liftoff in the shares of home builders such as Toll Brothers  (ticker: TOL) and PulteGroup  (PHM).
Weyerhaeuser's stock (WY) has been no slouch, either. It shot up 50% in the past year, to a 52-week high of $24.62, and the rally could be in the early innings. The shares, which topped $85 in 2007, look rich at 29 times next year's expected earnings of 85 cents a share, but the P/E ratio is misleading, as it is based on trough earnings.
Headquartered in Federal Way, Wash., Weyerhaeuser is best viewed as an asset play, and its assets are sorely undervalued. The company owns six million acres of timberland, including some of the best properties in the U.S., chiefly old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest and the South. It also makes wood products and cellulose fibers—Weyerhaeuser is one of the biggest producers of absorbent pulp used in diapers and feminine-hygiene products—and operates a real-estate development company. Some analysts and investors calculate its net asset value at more than $30 a share, or about 30% above the current stock price.
"Weyerhaeuser is a terrific asset play," says Todd Lowenstein of HighMark Capital Management, which owns shares. "You are buying attractive timber and other housing assets that are under-earning and have been mispriced at the