Based on the aggregated intelligence of 170,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, machine vision specialist Cognex (Nasdaq: CGNX) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

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

Cognex facts

Headquarters (Founded)

Natick, Mass. (1981)

Market Cap

$1.3 billion


Electronic equipment and instruments

Trailing-12-Month Revenue

$290.69 million


CEO Robert Willett

CFO Richard Morin

Return on Equity (Average, Past 3 Years)



$181 million / $0

Dividend Yield



KLA-Tencor (Nasdaq: KLAC)

Orbotech (Nasdaq: ORBK)

Perceptron (Nasdaq: PRCP)

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

On CAPS, 89.5% of the 296 members who have rated Cognex believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include Spraggs and mwlove.

Just last month, Spraggs tapped Cognex as a cheap way to go for growth: "Primarily for reasons of growth potential not fully priced into today's price. Robotic vision technology has vast potential in all variety of industries and is just beginning to be explored."

Over the next five years, in fact, Cognex is expected to grow its bottom line at a solid rate of 12.5% annually. That's faster than listed rivals KLA-Tencor (10.0%), Orbotech (7.0%), and Perceptron (10.0%).

CAPS member mwlove elaborates on the Cognex bull case:

How many times have you stood at the checkout counter while the clerk passes an item over the laser barcode reader again and again? Cognex's new Dataman readers are more accurate than laser readers and can read damaged barcodes at a much higher rate than lasers. How big is that market? ...

This company is innovative, with an expanding body of products. Yes, some competitors may have deeper pockets, but Cognex has a culture of creative thinking that comes out of MIT. I like what they do and how they do it.

The stock was knocked down 20% on fears that last year's numbers can't be matched. Perhaps that is true for this quarter, and even this year, but over the next five years, this company is going to be huge.

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