NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - There's another reason for that smiley face -- for the third straight year, Wal-Mart Stores tops the annual Fortune 500 ranking of the nation's largest companies.
Wal-Mart, the Bentonville, Ark.-based discount retailer, is one of only three companies ever to top the prestigious list, whose 50th edition was announced Sunday by Fortune magazine. The other companies are Exxon Mobil, which rose one spot to second place, and General Motors, which slipped a notch to third.
Rounding out the top 10 companies on the list are Ford Motor, General Electric, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips, Citigroup, IBM and American International Group.
The magazine said the list's 500 companies took in a record $7.5 trillion in revenue and earned $445.6 billion in profit, thanks in part to the lowest interest rates in four decades and the Bush administration's tax cuts and spending programs.
"The nation's largest companies smashed existing sales records and obliterated the dismal, accounting-damaged performance of the past two years," wrote Fortune's Janice Revell.
Of the 39 industries tracked by the magazine, Fortune said 34 posted profit growth in 2003. The petroleum industry was among the leading gainers, aided in part by oil prices that rose to near $40 a barrel in advance of the Iraq war and stayed relatively high.
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The few sectors with profit weakness included pharmaceuticals, as key patents expired and new blockbuster drugs failed to materialize, and telecom service providers, which suffered from falling prices and increased competition.
The magazine's Fortune 500 issue, dated April 5, will appear on newsstands March 29.