Based on the aggregated intelligence of 135,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, chip manufacturing equipment maker Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

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

Applied Materials facts

Headquarters (Founded)

Santa Clara, Calif. (1967)

Market Cap

$14.6 billion

Industry

Semiconductor Equipment

Trailing-12-Month Revenue

$6.25 billion

Management

CEO Michael Splinter (since 2003)

CFO George Davis (since 2006)

Return on Equity (average, last five years)

14.5%

Dividend Yield

2.2%

Competitors

Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX)

KLA-Tencor

CAPS Members Bullish on AMAT Also Bullish on

General Electric (NYSE:GE)

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)

CAPS Members Bearish on AMAT Also Bearish on

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM)

Sources: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, and Motley Fool CAPS.

Over on CAPS, fully 1,565 of the 1,661 members who have rated Applied Materials -- some 94% -- believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include Skadi67 and pezbro20.

Just last week, Skadi67 tapped the stock as an increasingly smart way to get some sun:

Lowered costs; next year the economy will likely increase and due to depleted inventory business is likely going to improve much; their solar business is maturing and will likely add to the revenue rather than absorb revenue from the semiconductor business.

In an earlier pitch, pezbro20 expands on Applied Materials' long-term tailwinds:

Sell the gold miners the picks and shovels! [Applied Materials] supplies the tools needed for cutting edge technology companies to produce their chips, lcd displays and now solar panels. Although subject to cyclicality of the chip industry they are expanding diversification by getting into solar. Also, the servicing segment continues to grow as more companies need help and advice regarding the equipment. [Applied Materials] is a long term tech play at a time when tech stocks still seem to remain in the doldrums.

What do you think about Applied Materials, or any other stock for that matter? Make your voice heard on Motley Fool CAPS today. More than 135,000 investors are waiting to hear what you have to say. CAPS is 100% free, so simply click here to get started.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection, Johnson & Johnson is an Income Investor pick, and Intel is an Inside Value recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Intel. The Fool's disclosure policy always gets a perfect score.