This year's Fortune 500 list, which ranks companies by their gross revenues, hit newsstands today and business writers are chewing it over. In 2010 Wal-Mart topped the list, dethroning oil titan Exxon Mobil. Here are the lessons journalists are teasing out:
- Profits Up—Revenues Down, notices Daniel Carty at CBS News: "2009 profits were up a remarkable $391 billion - more than three times greater than the previous year. But the windfall wasn't due to greater sales, as revenues actually fell 8.7 percent. Cost-cutting was the preferred strategy and companies cut 3.2 percent of its workforce to finish in the black."
- Wal-Mart Is Unstoppable, writes Pallavi Gogoi at Daily Finance: "Wal-Mart's results... are still impressive given the economic environment. Last year, companies that served consumers suffered deeply -- especially retailers. Many retailers were forced to shutter stores as sales fell, and others disappeared altogether. Yet Wal-Mart's low prices attracted millions of worried Americans, allowing it to buck the downward trend and grow sales."
- This Explains the Jobless Recovery, writes Annie Lowrey at The Washington Independent:
Wondering what’s behind those recent jobless recovery numbers?
1. Fortune 500 companies tripled their profits to $391 billion in 2009.
2. They also slashed their payrolls by more than 800,000 jobs.
- A Big Year for Health Care Companies and Tech, writes Shawn Tully at Fortune: "The star of 2009 is undoubtedly health care. The sector's earnings jumped to an all-time high of $92 billion, placing it second behind tech at $94 billion. Health-care earnings rose by $23 billion, or 33%. It wasn't the band of new arrivals that accounted for most of the bounty, but extremely strong earnings from two groups, one surprising -- medical insurers -- and the other more predictable, pharmaceuticals."
Hurting, writes Sarah Rabil at BusinessWeek observes:
"GM, the Detroit-based automaker that
reorganized in a government-aided bankruptcy last year, fell to 15th
place from 6th, the first time since the list began in 1955 that the
company didn’t make the top 10, according to Fortune."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.