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."
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
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."
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