Historically, tumultuous times offer some of the best opportunities to buy stocks, and the market's recent mess surely qualifies. And though semiconductor equipment maker Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) is still struggling to recover from the battering it has taken over the past few years, many investors expect better times ahead.

In our Motley Fool CAPS community, about 95% of the 1,878 investors rating the company are bullish, so there's no shortage of reasons why Applied Materials will thrive, three of which I've highlighted below.

But here at The Motley Fool, we're all for looking at both the good and bad sides of an investment. So once you're done with this article, you can read the case against the stock, weigh in with your own comments below on this page, or rate Applied Materials in CAPS.

1. Bullish outlook
Even with fears of slowing semiconductor growth pressuring shares of companies like AMD (NYSE: AMD), Applied Materials reported fiscal-third-quarter sales that more than doubled and remains bullish on the semiconductor market. Major customer Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE: TSM) recently bumped upped its capital expenditure forecast, reflecting Applied Materials' view that foundries have been investing more aggressively than previously expected.

2. Steady demand
Like the strong quarterly results from chip makers Micron Technology (Nasdaq: MU) and SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK), growth in memory chips has contributed toward a lot of the demand for Applied Materials' equipment. Despite some potential slower spending in DRAM, the company looks for NAND flash memory to stay hot. With the impressive growth of the mobile device industry, many CAPS members foresee steady demand for the company's products going forward.

3. Solar ambitions
While semiconductors remain the bread and butter of the business, investors like the opportunity for Applied Materials to expand its solar business. Applied Materials is citing significant advances in thin-film technology and also pushing ahead with crystalline silicon solar, which saw record profitability in the third quarter. Aside from a potential slowdown in Germany next year, it expects strong demand in other parts of the world, while solar companies like First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) and Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL) expect demand to remain strong in 2011.

To see details of what CAPS members are saying now about Applied Materials, just click on over to Motley Fool CAPS and have a look, or add your thoughts directly to this story in the comments box below.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock has more than three reasons why mixing the game Twister with large quantities of alcohol is a bad idea. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. First Solar is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection.The Fool's disclosure policy loves nipping just about anything in the bud.