Based on the aggregated intelligence of 170,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, natural gas-focused explorer Ultra Petroleum (NYSE: UPL) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.

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

Ultra facts

Headquarters (Founded) Houston (1979)
Market Cap $7.2 billion
Industry Oil and gas exploration and production
Trailing-12-Month Revenue $955.2 million
Management

CEO Michael Watford (since 1999)

CFO Marshal Smith (since 2005)

Return on Equity (Average, Past 3 Years) 15.9
Cash/Debt $7.2 million / $1.3 billion
Competitors

EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG)

Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE: COG)

Petrohawk Energy (NYSE: HK)


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

On CAPS, 97% of the 1,085 members who have rated Ultra believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include All-Star unicornhunter7, who is ranked in the top 5% of our community, and Ak66.

Just last week, unicornhunter7 tapped Ultra as a rather natural selection: "It may not happen this year, or next year, but natural gas prices will go up. I would rather buy the stock now and wait, rather than pay more later."

Ultra's status as one of North America's lowest-cost producers makes it a particularly attractive bet on higher natural gas prices. Thanks in large part to an enviable position in Wyoming's Green River Basin, Ultra's trailing-12-month operating margin (90.6%) easily tops that of rivals EOG (7.4%), Cabot (22.4%), and Petrohawk (34%), as well as other natural gas plays like Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) (17.5%) and Anadarko (NYSE: APC) (25.7%).

CAPS member Ak66 elaborates on Ultra's cost advantage:

Like everyone else, I can't see the future. This company has much more to the upside than the downside. It can out-wait more expensive producers, and when prices turn around it will be in a great position. I do not know the future, but I do know that it will require energy. Gas is one of the best options at the table for the next 30 years.

What do you think about Ultra, 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. Chesapeake is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Ultra. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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