Based on the aggregated intelligence of 170,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, defense contractor General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

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

General Dynamics facts

Headquarters (Founded)

Falls Church, Va. (1899)

Market Cap

$28.69 billion

Industry

Aerospace and defense

Trailing-12-Month Revenue

$32.47 billion

Management

Chairman/CEO Jay Johnson

CFO L. Hugh Redd

Return on Equity (Average, Past 3 Years)

21.5%

Cash/Debt

$2.61 billion / $3.2 billion

Dividend Yield

2.5%

Competitors

Boeing (NYSE: BA)

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)

Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC)

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

On CAPS, 95% of the 1,295 members who have rated General Dynamics believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include GainSeeker and KnockoutMouse.

Earlier this week, GainSeeker tapped General Dynamics as a particularly timely way to play defense: "low PEG and p/s with good growth prospects. reasonable debt load. congress can't cut def with this unrest in the middle east."

General Dynamics even boasts a three-year average operating margin of 12.1%. That's higher than that of main competitors Boeing (5.4%), Lockheed (9.9%), and Northrop (8.3%).

CAPS member KnockoutMouse expands on the outperform argument:

Many analysts think that defense budgets will shrink with Obama and the US deficit problems, but history shows how wrong that opinion is. Military spending in the past most clearly reflects the global potential for conflict and has had little to do with the internal politics of the US.

Food, energy and water are becoming scarcer, destabilizing governments around the globe. ... I hate to say it, but the potential for conflict will only increase in the future.

General Dynamics is the leading company in land and sea power, producing tanks and armored vehicles for the army and marines, as well as destroyers, submarines and littoral combat vessels for the navy.

What do you think about General Dynamics, 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 General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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