Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, chip equipment maker Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.

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

Applied Materials facts

Headquarters (founded) Santa Clara, Calif. (1967)
Market Cap $14.6 billion
Industry Semiconductor equipment
Trailing-12-Month Revenue $10.0 billion
Management Chairman/CEO Michael Splinter
CFO George Davis
Return on Equity (average, past 3 years) 11.9%
Cash/Debt $2.0 billion / $2.0 billion
Dividend Yield 3.2%
Competitors KLA-Tencor
Lam Research
Tokyo Electron

Sources: S&P Capital IQ and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 95% of the 2,104 members who have rated Applied Materials believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward.  

Just a couple of days ago , one of those Fools, chicagoadvisor, succinctly summed up the bull case for our community:

Solid balance sheet, exposure to flat panel, solar panel and semi conductor space with growing share of mobile tech. Dividend pays [to] wait, the value here should weather a storm (when the next one comes). The [Varian Semiconductor] acquisition is causing some indigestion. I like, I'm buying.

If you want market-topping returns, you need to put together the best portfolio you can. Owning exceptional stocks is a surefire way to secure your financial future. Of course, despite a strong five-star rating, Applied Materials may not be your top choice.

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