Based on the aggregated intelligence of 170,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, chip equipment maker Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.

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

Applied Materials facts

Headquarters (founded)

Santa Clara, Calif. (1967)

Market Cap

$20.83 billion

Industry

Semiconductor equipment

Trailing-12-Month Revenue

$10.39 billion

Management

Chairman/CEO Michael Splinter

CFO George Davis

Return on Equity (average, past 3 years)

8.2%

Cash/Debt

$2.75 billion / $205 million

Dividend Yield

1.7%

Competitors

KLA-Tencor (Nasdaq: KLAC)

Lam Research (Nasdaq: LRCX)

Varian Semiconductor Equipment (Nasdaq: VSEA)

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

On CAPS, 95% of the 1,915 members who have rated Applied Materials believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include turkeybird and FoolishMikee.

Just last week , turkeybird summed up the Applied Materials bull case for our community: "solid fundamentals in a upward trending market environment."

Currently, Applied Materials even sports a cheapish forward P/E of 10.3. That represents a slight discount to competitors KLA-Tencor (11.5), Lam Research (10.5), and Varian Semiconductor (12.3).

CAPS member FoolishMikee expands on Applied Materials as a particularly well-managed opportunity:

AMAT is the world's largest semiconductor equipment maker and according to their 2009 annual report "We reached $1 billion in revenue and were named the number one equipment supplier to the global photovoltaics" ...

The firm's leadership is led by, and as obvious as this sounds and expected, well experienced professionals for each of their position. Michael Splinter (CEO) has an impressive track record for working previously for Intel for 20 years, and currently serves on the board of NASDAQ OMX Group, board of Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI).

What do you think about Applied Materials, 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. Intel and Nasdaq OMX Group are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. The Fool owns shares of Intel and Nasdaq OMX Group and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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