Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-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 $15.4 billion
Industry Semiconductor equipment
Trailing-12-Month Revenue $10.5 billion
Management Chairman/CEO Michael Splinter
CFO George Davis
Return on Equity (Average, Past 3 Years) 10.7%
Cash/Debt $6.24 billion / $1.95 billion
Dividend Yield 2.8%
Competitors KLA-Tencor
Lam Research
Varian Semiconductor Equipment

Sources: S&P Capital IQ and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 95% of the 2,077 members who have rated Applied Materials believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward.

Just last week, one of those Fools, NJ7, nicely summed up the bull case:

It has solid fundamentals and is an essential driver of the semiconductor industry that provides the equipment to make chips to many different, competing companies, as well as moving toward the future of 3-D chips. While I initially was blown away by the opportunity, my excitement was tempered by the fact that while many of the large semiconductor firms use Applied Materials, it has major competitors. A Fool always has to be wary of the perfect story, and Applied Materials has a great one, especially with a rising dividend and management that has been with Applied for a few years now. However, I will be investing in [Applied Materials] because I believe it is a better value than Intel or other chip makers because regardless of who makes the chips (as long as they use Applied's equipment, which not all do), Applied Materials profits.

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!

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Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of and creating a bull call spread position in Intel. 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.