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Wal-Mart tops Fortune 500
The retailer leads for the fourth straight year; natural resources companies light up the charts.
April 12, 2005: 9:58 AM EDT
Fortune 500: Click for full report at
1. Wal-Mart Stores
2. Exxon Mobil
3. General Motors
4. Ford Motor
5. General Electric
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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Wal-Mart was No. 1 on Fortune magazine's annual list of the Fortune 500, the fourth year in a row the retailer has held the top spot.

Rounding out the top five in the 2005 rankings are Exxon Mobil (No. 2), General Motors (3), Ford Motor (4) and General Electric (5).

Position in the Fortune 500, created in 1954, is determined by total revenue in the prior year. In the history of the list, only Wal-Mart, General Motors and Exxon Mobil have ranked No. 1. See more rankings.

In February, Wal-Mart fell from No. 1 to No. 4 on Fortune's annual list of Most Admired Companies; Dell Inc. won top prize in that survey.

The companies on the Fortune 500 list that had the best profit performance (both in growth and overall) were involved in natural resources.

Exxon Mobil was the most profitable, earning a $25.3 billion, a new record. Metals producers, including Alcoa (79) and Phelps Dodge (299), posted growth of more than 800 percent.

Also faring well were companies tied to the real estate market, including Pulte Homes (No. 181), Toll Brothers (477) and Home Depot (13).

Of 42 industry groups tracked by Fortune, only four failed to post profit gains.

The losers were the airlines, ranking last in terms of profits.

Finally, there was some good news for employees. Fortune 500 companies employed some 24 million people in 2004, a slight increase from 2003 and the first gain in three years.

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