Based on the aggregated intelligence of 130,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, oncology equipment maker Varian Medical Systems (NYSE:VAR) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

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

Varian facts

Headquarters (founded)

Palo Alto, Calif. (1948)

Market Cap

$4.14 billion


Health-care equipment

TTM Revenue

$2.13 billion


CEO Timothy Guertin (since 2006)
CFO Elisha Finney (since 1999)

Return on Equity (average, last three years)



Siemens (NYSE:SI)

CAPS members bullish on VAR also bullish on

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)

CAPS members bearish on VAR also bearish on

Citigroup (NYSE:C)

Sources: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, and Motley Fool CAPS. TTM = trailing 12 months.

Over on CAPS, 291 of the 304 members who have rated Varian -- some 96% -- believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include SIO394 and All-Star Cmoor.

Late last month, SIO394 tapped Varian as a healthy way to defend against the downturn:

People may stop treatment for minor conditions in a recession, but they are going to continue treatment for cancer and other major health problems. This is a quality company that is currently undervalued. ... They are even treating prostate cancer with Varian technology.

In a pitch from late January, Cmoor elaborates on that logic:

Varian is in the enviable position of having the technologically superior equipment in a business largely immune to recession. ...Varian's sales and profit show that they continue to increase market share in the radiation treatment equipment and imaging space and that, unlike fears, purchasing of the newest and best equipment by hospitals has not slowed even during the '08 downturn. Order backlog remains high. The company has nearly $400 million in cash, little long term debt, and a history of repurchasing stock to leverage earnings-per-share growth.

What do you think about Varian Medical, or any other stock for that matter? Make your voice heard on Motley Fool CAPS today. More than 130,000 investors are waiting to hear what you have to say. CAPS is 100% free, so simply click here to get started.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Johnson & Johnson is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick, and Google is a Rule Breakers recommendation. Intel is a choice of both Inside Value, and the Fools owns shares and options on it. The Fool's disclosure policy always gets a perfect score.