10. Ford Motor CompanyFord Motor primarily develops, manufactures, distributes, and services vehicles and parts worldwide. Ford Motor was founded in 1903 and is based in Dearborn, Michigan. "Ford continues to bounce back from the auto industry crisis and was the only member of Detroit's Big 3 to not need government bailout money to do so. This past year, the automaker saw a $3.8 billion increase in net income from the previous year, to a whopping $6.6 billion," Fortune magazine said. Moving forward, Ford wants to boost its Lincoln brand, which has suffered from disappointing sales. The company also wants to lead the charge toward smart car innovations, enabling vehicles to "talk" or share information with one another. As part of the company's overall smart car agenda, Ford rolled out its "MyTouch" touchscreen technology this past January. "But the automaker's first line of wired cars has received negative reviews from some consumers who claim that the interface is too difficult to use. Perhaps its next version will put the American car company on the right road to the future," the magazine added.
9. Bank of America Corp.Bank of America provides banking and nonbanking financial services and products to individuals, small- and middle-market businesses, large corporations, and governments in the United States and internationally. Bank of America was founded in 1874 and is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. "For Bank of America, the first step toward turning a corner may be admitting defeat. In 2009, the bank received $45 billion in loans from the government's asset relief program and scrambled to take both Merrill Lynch and Countrywide under its wing (Bank of America purchased both companies that same year)," Fortune magazine said. The year 2010 hasn't been much easier for the banking behemoth. The company posted a net loss of more than $2 billion for the year, which it attributes to "goodwill impairment charges." "It's trying to get some of that goodwill back: the bank agreed in June to pay $8.5 billion to investors who claimed they were duped by fraudulent mortgage securities. The bank forecasts another net loss for the second quarter of 2011, but it just might have a shot at clearing its name after putting the bulk of its legal issues in the past," the magazine added.
8. General MotorsGeneral Motors (GM) operates as a global automaker. It produces cars and trucks and sells them under the brand names Baojun, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Daewoo, Holden, Opel, Isuzu, Vauxhall, Jiefang, FAW, and Wuling. GM was founded in 1908 and is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. General Motors is back on its feet again after its bailout in 2008, but the automaker has a long way to go. In 2009, GM went from bankruptcy to delivering the biggest IPO in history in November 2010, raising about $20 billion. "Let me assure you, no one is doing a victory lap," CEO Dan Akerson said during the second annual shareholders meeting. But he did say that he saw the bankruptcy as a kind of opportunity. "As perverse as it may sound, the bankruptcy, as difficult as it was, may have been not only a second chance but a rebirth of a great 21st century global manufacturing company," Akerson said. What will that rebirth look like going forward? Akerson plans to increase the company's already large market share in BRIC countries and focus on the Chevrolet and Cadillac brands. "The company also aims to gain full independence from the U.S. government (the government currently holds a 32 percent stake in GM common stock), although the two sides disagree over the best way to proceed," Fortune magazine said.
7. Berkshire HathawayBerkshire Hathaway is a publicly owned investment manager. Through its subsidiaries, the firm primarily engages in the insurance and reinsurance of property and casualty risks business. Berkshire Hathaway was founded in 1889 and is based in Omaha, Nebraska. The chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway is Warren Buffett. "Berkshire Hathaway had a solid year in 2010. The company's $26 billion acquisition of Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad as the year began paid off, and CEO Warren Buffett continued to pile up cash and look for other good places to put it," Fortune magazine said. But Berkshire has seen its stock slump in 2011, with the price of the shares down by about 5 percent year-to-date. Troubles involving former Berkshire executive David Sokol certainly haven't helped matters. Sokol, who many thought the heir apparent at Berkshire, resigned from the company in March amid insider trading questions, leaving some investors concerned about who would lead Berkshire post-Buffett. "Still, Buffett's mantra has been not to be bothered by short-term fluctuations in stock prices, and many analysts are saying that the current dip in Berkshire's shares could offer investors a rare shot to get in on a great company," the magazine added.
6. General ElectricGeneral Electric operates as a technology, media, and financial services company worldwide. The company was founded in 1892 and is based in Fairfield, Connecticut. GE is on the same slow boat to recovery as many other American manufacturers. In 2010, CEO Jeff Immelt announced that the company plans to slim down its troubled financial arm and boost the portions of the company that "make stuff." This year, Immelt insists that the economy is improving and that GE is poised to benefit. "The world we face is getting better. We see signs of economic strength every day," Immelt told shareholders at GE's annual shareholder meeting in April. At the same meeting, chief financial officer Keith Sherin said that GE is proud of its own recovery. Earnings in 2010 were $3.3 billion, up from $1.5 billion at the end of 2009. "But GE still has a long way to go to satisfy its shareholders, who were no doubt irked when the company cut its dividend in 2009 for the first time since 1938," Fortune magazine said.
5. Fannie MaeFederal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) provides liquidity and stability support in the secondary mortgage market in the United States. Fannie Mae was founded in 1938 and is based in Washington, the District of Columbia. Fannie Mae made an impressive leap from the number 270 spot last year to number 15 this year, but the jump is mostly due to new accounting rules that the Financial Accounting Standards Board put in place in 2010. The troubled mortgage giant is, indeed, still troubled. Since the New York Stock Exchange de-listed Fannie Mae about a year ago, the company has racked up about $86 billion in debt to U.S. taxpayers. While the federal government may want to wean Fannie Mae and its sister company Freddie Mac off of federal support, both companies have a glut of assets that are going to be difficult to sell. Fannie Mae reported a loss of $6.5 billion for the first quarter of 2011, compared to a profit of $73 million last quarter, due to the dip in home prices that directly affects its credit-related expenses. "Perhaps new leadership can help steer the company in the right direction. On June 22, Fannie Mae named Susan McFarland, previously of Capital One Financial Corp., as its new CFO -- the third person to take the position at Fannie Mae since the U.S. government bailed the company out three years ago," Fortune magazine said.
4. ConocoPhillipsConocoPhillips operates as an integrated energy company worldwide. ConocoPhillips was founded in 1917 and is based in Houston, Texas. ConocoPhilips may be the 12th largest company in the world, but it stands fourth largest company in U.S. It spent much of 2009 shedding assets, most notably Russian company LUKOIL. "The energy giant has made a comeback from its No. 17 ranking on last year's Global 500 list. It's also one of the most profitable companies in the Fortune 500, thanks to improved refining margins and excellent sales from its chemicals division. All in all, Conoco has come a long way since 2008, when it endured a loss," Fortune magazine said. Conoco said it will likely continue to sell more assets and narrow its focus to its core business. The company said it intends to shift away from several natural gas assets as its expected price of the fuel will stay low in the short term.
3. ChevronChevron engages in petroleum, chemicals, mining, power generation, and energy operations worldwide. Chevron Corporation was founded in 1879 and is based in San Ramon, California. The company was formerly known as ChevronTexaco Corp. and changed its name to Chevron Corporation in May 2005. "This year, Chevron took steps to get a little less refined. The company sold its Pembroke refinery in Ireland and other downstream assets in Africa and the Caribbean, and it is trying to focus more on production. Its efforts have made the company cash-heavy, with a net cash position of $5.3 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2011," Fortune magazine said. "The company sees a bright future in gas and oil. In February, it bought Atlas Energy mainly to exploit the company's access to gas from the Marcellus Shale in the Northeast U.S. The company also feels confident about the prospect of increased drilling activity in the Gulf. Two of Chevron's three deepwater vessels are active in the Gulf again," the magazine added.
2. ExxonMobilExxon Mobil engages in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas, and manufacture of petroleum products, as well as transportation and sale of crude oil, natural gas, and petroleum products. Exxon Mobil was founded in 1870 and is based in Irving, Texas. "Like all of the oil majors, ExxonMobil has had to weather a highly volatile year. Nevertheless, Exxon continues to perform well: the company's 2010 net earnings grew 57 percent to $30.5 billion," Fortune magazine said. The company's chief executive officer Rex Tillerson said during its annual shareholders meeting in May that to prepare for future volatility in the global energy market, Exxon is adjusting to growing demand for all different types of energy. Tillerson said Exxon plans to put more of its money in alternative fuels, most notably natural gas. "Natural gas will be the fastest growing major energy source and will overtake coal as the second largest global energy source behind only oil," Tillerson said.
1. Wal-Mart StoresWal-Mart Stores maintains its perch atop the corporate ladder, taking the top spot on this year's Fortune's 500 and Global 500 lists, both for the second year in a row. Wal-Mart Stores operates retail stores in various formats worldwide. It operates stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, as well as in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, the United Kingdom, China, and India. The company was founded in 1945 and is based in Bentonville, Arkansas. "A company that big makes big headlines, both good and bad. For example, Wal-Mart continues to receive credit for its role as a leader in corporate sustainability. The company launched its "Sustainability Index" in 2009 in an effort to assume accountability for its products' origins and to make that information transparent to customers," Fortune magazine said. "But Wal-mart has also been in the spotlight this year for a gender discrimination suit involving 1.5 million of its current and former female employees. The Supreme Court threw the case out on the grounds that the women couldn't pursue it as a single class, but the retail giant will likely have to face these claims in smaller groups in the months and years to come," the magazine added.
Time Inc.'s Fortune magazine released its annual Fortune Global 500 list, which is a ranking of the top 500 corporations worldwide as measured by revenue.
In this year's list, the US companies made up the majority with 133 companies but was down from 185 a decade ago. Followed by 68 Japanese companies and 61 Chinese companies.
For the second year in a row, Wal-Mart holds the number one spot with revenues of more than $421 billion. Wal-Mart appears eighth time in the list's history. Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, General Motors and Mitsubishi are the only other companies to ever top the Global 500.
The top-ten biggest companies ranked by revenue in the US are: Wal-Mart Stores, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Fannie Mae, General Electric, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, General Motors, Bank of America Corp., and Ford Motor Company.
Start slideshow to view a gallery of the top 10 biggest companies in the US.