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Exxon Mobil Takes Fortune 500 Top Spot, Edging Out Wal-Mart
Fortune magazine released the 2012 update of its Fortune 500 list, and the top spot has changed hands, with Exxon Mobil knocking Wal-Mart Stores Inc. out of the No. 1 position. Exxon has been ranked No. 2 on last years list.
It's tough to beat the kind of year Exxon Mobil had in 2011. Shares rose by 20% and profits surged by 35% to $41.1 billion. Revenues jumped 28% to $452.9 billion . . . Exxon has certainly benefited from rising oil prices, particularly during the last quarter of 2011. But the company has also positioned itself well to capitalize on the latest controversial trend in domestic energy production: Fracking. Exxon now produces just about as much gas as it does oil, thanks to its $35 billion purchase of XTO Energy in 2010.
In addition to Exxon, two other energy companies are in the top five: Chevron is at No. 3 (right behind Wal-Mart, which fell to No. 2) and ConocoPhillips comes in at No. 4. The fifth slot is filled by General Motors, which rose up three spots from last years showing at No. 8.
The retailer was forced to aggressively cut prices to reverse its declining same store sales in the U.S. That helped push revenues up by 6% during 2011, to $447 billion, but it hurt Wal-Mart's bottom lineprofits declined by 4.6% during the year, to $15.7 billion.
And Wal-Marts slide down to second doesnt reflect the current financial woes it faces as fallout from Aprils Mexico bribery scandal (Fortunes rankings are based on the previous years gross revenue, among other factors).
The consumer in America, not so great. Government in the United States, not so well. But businesses are doing well. They've really come out of the downturn, doing things right. They're in good shape. A lot of that has to do with the fact that they've cut back. They've cut costs during the downturn meaning layoffs quite frankly. That's why profits are so high.
The total 2011 earnings among the 500 companies on the list was $825 billion, a record high number.
See also: "The Wal-Mart Bribery Scandal on CorpCounsel.com," CorpCounsel, April 2012.