Based on the aggregated intelligence of 110,000 investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, construction equipment giant Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) has earned a respected four-star ranking. While five-star stocks have been the best performers, our data has shown that four-star stocks still outshine the market by a significant margin and shouldn't be taken lightly; conversely, low-rated stocks have woefully lagged the market average.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at Caterpillar's business, and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

Caterpillar facts

   

Headquarters (Founded)

Peoria, Ill. (1925)

Market Cap

$41.96 billion

Industry

Farm & Construction Machinery

TTM Revenue

$49.0 billion

Management

CEO James Owens (since 2004)

CFO David Burritt (since 2005)

Return on Equity (avg. last three years)

42.3%

CAPS members bullish on CAT also bullish on

General Electric (NYSE:GE)

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

Altria (NYSE:MO)

CAPS members bearish on CAT also bearish on

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX)

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC)

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)

Sources: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, and Motley Fool CAPS. TTM = trailing 12 months.

Over on CAPS, 95% of the 952 All-Star members who have rated Caterpillar believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These All-Star bulls include kristm and TDRH, both of whom are ranked in the top 1% of our community.

In May 2007, kristm reminded our community that Caterpillar is a "Well-run company with a superior reputation for quality and service. Has customers all over the world and in all types of businesses, limiting impact from slowing US housing market."

A more recent pitch from TDRH last month followed that bullish line of thinking, highlighting the bargain opportunity that Mr. Market might be offering up:

This is one tired bear. I like CAT, well positioned internationally with established and distribution and moat. They run a tight ship and will have the ability to adapt to changing markets. Their offshore division should continue to lead the way with new rig construction. This is a long term buy and hold with further downside risk, but should outperform the S&P 500.

What do you think about Caterpillar, or any other stock for that matter? Make your voice heard on Motley Fool CAPS today. More than 110,000 investors are waiting to hear what you have to say. CAPS is 100% free, so simply click here to get started.

Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple and Starbucks are Stock Advisor picks. Starbucks is also an Inside Value selection. The Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Bank of America is an Income Investor choice. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days, and we'll show you how to get your portfolio purring even when the markets are scratchy.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy always gets a perfect score.