Based on the aggregated intelligence of 170,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, natural gas and oil producer Apache (NYSE: APA) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

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

Apache facts

Headquarters (Founded) Houston (1954)
Market Cap $46.45 billion
Industry Oil and gas exploration and production
Trailing-12-Month Revenue $11.99 billion
Management

Chairman/CEO G. Steven Farris

CFO Thomas Chambers

Return on Equity (Average, Past 3 Years) 5.9%
Cash/Debt $134 million / $8.14 billion
Dividend Yield 0.5%
Competitors

Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC)

BP (NYSE: BP)

ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM)

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

On CAPS, 97% of the 1,879 members who have rated Apache believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include euphorbus and All-Star TSIF, who is ranked in the top 0.2% of our community.

Just last month, euphorbus tapped Apache as an ideal way to boost your energy exposure: "Best company in the energy production space. They find oil in depleted fields using superior know-how."

Currently, Apache even sports a cheapish price-to-cash flow of 6.5. That represents a discount to competitors like Anadarko (7.6), BP (7.2), and Exxon (8.6).

CAPS member TSIF elaborated in late February on Apache as a timely opportunity:

Apache Corp has some tie-ins to both the Middle East which is in disruption and to Australia which is suffering from weather induced cutbacks. In the Middle East, exposure appears to be limited, mostly over concern about contracts to Egypt that might not be honored. This appears unlikely after the resolutions last week. In Australia the closure of the gas production hub that services about 1/3rd of Western Austrailias needs should be temporary.

Overall, Apache has a very diversified global presence, expanded from acquistions it gained from BP and Mariner at reasonable prices. Global presence includes Austrailia, Chile, and the US. Margins have been exceptional and foward P/E continues to stay relatively low. Despite borrowing and issuing stock for acquisitons, Apache maintains good cash flow.

What do you think about Apache, 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. The Fool owns shares of Exxon. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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