Based on the aggregated intelligence of 170,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, defense contractor Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

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

Northrop facts

Headquarters (Founded) Los Angeles (1939)
Market Cap $18.2 billion
Industry Aerospace and defense
Trailing-12-Month Revenue $34.76 billion
Management

CEO Wesley Bush (since 2010)

CFO James Palmer (since 2007)

Return on Equity (Average, Past 3 Years) 6.4%
Cash/Debt $3.77 billion / $4.83 billion
Dividend Yield 3%
Competitors

Boeing (NYSE: BA)

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)

United Technologies (NYSE: UTX)

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

On CAPS, 94% of the 814 members who have rated Northrop believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include All-Stars TDRH and TMFDeej, both of whom are ranked in the top 1% of our community.

Earlier this week, TDRH tapped Northrop's recent price drop as an opportunity to pounce: "Have owned this company since their acquisition of TRW. Reasonable valuation at this level with solid dividend. Expect a short term bounce after the recent slide."

In fact, Northrop currently sports a cheapish price-to-cash flow of 7.7. That represents a discount to rivals Boeing (18.6), Lockheed (8.5), and United Tech (13.4).

CAPS All-Star TMFDeej expands on the outperform argument:

The defense sector has been pretty beaten up lately, but if the unfortunate recent events in the Middle East prove anything it is that for some reason the U.S. will continue to fight ... even with its budget problems.

I'm taking advantage of the recent weakness in NOC to purchase it ahead of the pending spin-off of its ship-building and port operations.

What do you think about Northrop, or any other stock for that matter? If you want to retire rich, you need to put together the best portfolio you can. Owning exceptional stocks is a surefire way to secure your financial future, and on Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors are working every day to find them. CAPS is 100% free, so get started!

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. The Fool owns shares of Northrop and Lockheed. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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