Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, Australian mining giant BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

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

BHP facts

Headquarters (founded) Melbourne, Australia (1885)
Market Cap $165.6 billion
Industry Diversified metals and mining
Trailing-12-Month Revenue $75.5 billion
Management CEO Marius Kloppers (since 2007)
Chief Commercial Officer Alberto Calderon (since 2007)
Return on Equity (average, past 3 years) 31.8%
Cash/Debt $4.3 billion / $25.1 billion
Dividend Yield 3.5%
Competitors Alcoa
Rio Tinto

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

On CAPS, 97% of the 2,820 members who have rated BHP believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward.

A couple of months ago, one of those Fools, ifni, succinctly summed up the bull case for our community:

In my opinion, BHP represents the best single company diversified natural resources play. With divisions focused on petroleum, base metals, iron ore, manganese, coal (both metallurgical and energy), steel, and specialty products (such as diamonds), [BHP] delivers exactly what the world's rapidly industrializing and growing nations need.

If you want market-beating 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 four-star rating, BHP may not be your top choice.

If that's the case, we've compiled a special free report for investors called "The Tiny Gold Stock Digging Up Massive Profits," which uncovers a much small miner with big potential. The report is 100% free, but it won't be around forever, so click here to access it now.

Want to see how well (or not so well) the stocks in this series are performing? Follow the TrackPoisedTo CAPS account.