Based on the aggregated intelligence of 145,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, chip 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's business and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

Applied facts

Headquarters (Founded)

Santa Clara, Calif. (1967)

Market Cap

$17.2 billion

Industry

Semiconductors and semiconductor equipment

Trailing-12-Month Revenue

$5 billion

Management

CEO Michael Splinter (since 2003)

CFO George Davis (since 2006)

Return on Equity (Average, Past 3 Years)

10.7%

Cash/Debt

$2.21 billion / $202 million

Dividend Yield

1.9%

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)

Novellus Systems (NASDAQ:NVLS)

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

On CAPS, 94.5% of the 1,696 members who have rated Applied believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include Skadi67 and tekennedy.

Last summer, Skadi67 helped Fools see the sunny side of Applied: "[N]ext 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 a pitch from last month, tekennedy chipped in with a little more detail:

The company has entered markets which have been (and should/could continue) experiencing solid growth (electronics, computers, solar). Their cash balance and low debt coupled with minimal cap ex requirements will ensure this company will survive all but the worst of downturns. ... Their scale should help position them as the low cost provider of machinery for making solar panels, while helping spread R&D costs over a large base. Although the company would have a good value without the solar segment, it provides for some built in optionality as this could help skyrocket the price in the future.

What do you think about Applied, or any other stock for that matter? Make your voice heard on Motley Fool CAPS today. The CAPS community is waiting to hear your opinions. CAPS is 100% free, so get started!

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