Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, water industry equipment specialist Xylem (NYSE: XYL) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.

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

Xylem facts

Headquarters (founded) White Plains, N.Y. (1995)
Market Cap $4.5 billion
Industry Industrial machinery
Trailing-12-Month Revenue $3.8 billion
Management CEO Gretchen McClain
CFO Michael Speetzen
Trailing-12-Month Return on Equity 11.7%
Cash/Debt $358.0 million / $1.2 billion
Competitors Flowserve
Pentair SPX
Flow Technology

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

On CAPS, 96% of the 50 members who have rated Xylem believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward.

A few months ago, one of those Fools, NeuroNerd, succinctly summed up the Xylem bull case for our community:

Trading at a fairly reasonable P/E for an industry that I can only see demand growing for as the world population goes up, up, up and old infrastructure throughout much of the developed world continues to degrade. They also appear to have a big opportunity in treating fracking water waste. ... Leverage is modest ... cash flows aren't too shabby. ... Looks like a buy and hold, hold, hold to me!

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 its five-star rating, Xylem may not be your top choice.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.