Based on the aggregated intelligence of 170,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, drug behemoth Merck (NYSE: MRK) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

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

Merck facts

Headquarters (Founded)

Whitehouse Station, N.J. (1891)

Market Cap

$108.9 billion



Trailing-12-Month Revenue

$46.1 billion


CEO Kenneth Frazier (since January 2011)

CFO Peter Kellogg (since August 2007)

Return on Equity (Average, Past 3 Years)



$13 billion / $17.9 billion

Dividend Yield



Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)

Novartis (NYSE: NVS)

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE)

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

On CAPS, 93% of the 2,873 members who have rated Merck believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include PopsDaniecki and Wingaersheek.

About a month ago, PopsDaniecki listed several factors working in Merck's favor: "[D]ividend, market master, history, management, forecasting for the population, international expansion as 3rd world develops ... can someone tell me what is going to make this company NOT a long term hold?"

Currently, Merck even boasts a juicy dividend yield of 4.4%. That's slightly higher than other big pharma plays like Johnson & Johnson (3.5%), Novartis (3.3%), and Pfizer (3.9%).

CAPS member Wingaersheek expands on the income opportunity:

If you are looking for a solid dividend company, MRK is your answer. ... It has also shown growth. ... The best part of Merck is the free cash, with way more than enough to cover their dividend, potentially increase the dividend, and add to the value of investors purchasing the stock since when you buy shares you are buying into the company and that cash essentially.

What do you think about Merck, 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. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, and Pfizer. They have also recommended creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson, and The Fool owns shares of it. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool's disclosure policy always gets a perfect score.