Based on the aggregated intelligence of 170,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis (NYSE: NVS) has earned a respected five-star ranking.

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

Novartis facts

Headquarters (founded)

Basel, Switzerland (1895)

Market Cap

$125.36 billion

Industry

Pharmaceuticals

Trailing-12-Month Revenue

$50.21 billion

Management

CEO Joseph Jimenez (since 2007)

CFO Jonathan Symonds (since 2009)

Return on Equity (average, past 3 years)

15.4%

Cash/Debt

$7.99 billion / $26.96 billion

Dividend Yield

3%

Competitors

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE)

GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK)

Merck (NYSE: MRK)

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

On CAPS, 97% of the 1,474 members who have rated Novartis believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include FutureMonkey and All-Star TSIF, who is ranked in the top 0.2% of our community.

Just last month , FutureMonkey tapped Novartis as a healthy income opportunity: "Strong dividend producer that should be here for decades and decades. An excellent long term buy-hold with reinvested dividends to help you get rich slow and steady like."

Fools remain attracted to Novartis' diversified nature, sheer number of potential blockbusters, and cheapish valuation. Currently, Novartis even trades at a P/E (12.5) discount to rivals Pfizer (21.8), GlaxoSmithKline (16.8), and Merck (13.5), as well as other big foes such as Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT) (15.5) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) (12.9).

CAPS All-Star TSIF sums up the bull case:

It is difficult for drug companies to maintain headway when licenses to core revenue drugs expire and generics infringe on the margins, but Novartis has continued to lead in new drug development. ... Veterinary, eye products, OTC drugs, and other diversification also helps. The recession impacts drug companies as well as other industries, but not quite as deeply.

What do you think about Novartis, 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. Novartis is a Motley Fool Global Gains pick. Pfizer is a selection of Inside Value. Johnson & Johnson is an Income Investor choice, and Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on it. The Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. 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.