Our annual ranking of America's largest corporations

FAQ Definitions and Explanations

Methodology

Companies are ranked by total revenues for their respective fiscal years. Included in the survey are companies that are incorporated and operate in the U.S. and file financial statements with a government agency. This includes private companies and cooperatives that file a 10-K or a comparable financial statement with a government agency, and mutual insurance companies that file with state regulators. It also includes companies that file with a government agency but are owned by private companies, domestic or foreign, that do not file such financial statements. Excluded are private companies not filing with a government agency; companies incorporated outside the U.S.; and U.S. companies owned or controlled by other companies, domestic or foreign, that file with a government agency. Also excluded are companies that failed to report full financial statements for at least three quarters of the current fiscal year. The percent change calculations for revenue, net income, and earnings per share are based on data as originally reported. They are not restated for mergers, acquisitions, or accounting changes. The only changes to prior years' data are for significant restatement due to reporting errors that require a company to file an amended 10-K.

Revenues

Revenues are as reported, including revenues from discontinued operations when published. If a spinoff is on the list, it has not been included in discontinued operations. The revenues for commercial banks and savings institutions are interest and noninterest revenues. Revenues for insurance companies include premium and annuity income, investment income, and capital gains or losses, but exclude deposits. Revenues figures for all companies include consolidated subsidiaries and exclude excise taxes. Data shown are for the fiscal year ended on or before Jan. 31, 2011. Unless otherwise noted, all figures are for the year ended Dec. 31, 2010.

Profits

Profits are shown after taxes, extraordinary credits or charges, cumulative effects of accounting changes, and non-controlling interests, but before preferred dividends. Figures in parentheses indicate a loss. Profit declines of more than 100% reflect swings from 2009 profits to 2010 losses. Profits for real estate investment trusts, partnerships, and cooperatives are reported but are not comparable with those of the other companies on the list because they are not taxed on a comparable basis. Profits for mutual insurance companies are based on statutory accounting.

Balance Sheet

Assets are the company's year-end total. Total stockholders' equity is the sum of all capital stock, paid-in capital, and retained earnings at the company's year-end. Excluded is equity attributable to noncontrolling interests. Also excluded is redeemable preferred stock whose redemption is either mandatory or outside the company's control. Dividends paid on such stock have been subtracted from the profit figures used in calculating return on equity.

Earnings Per Share

The figure shown for each company is the diluted earnings-per-share figure that appears on the income statement. Per-share earnings are adjusted for stock splits and stock dividends. The five-year and 10-year earnings- growth rates are the annual rates, compounded.

Total Return to Investors

Total return to investors includes both price appreciation and dividend yield to an investor in the company's stock. The figures shown assume sales at the end of 2010 of stock owned at the end of 2000, 2005, and 2009, respectively. It has been assumed that any proceeds from cash dividends and stock received in spinoffs were reinvested when they were paid. Returns are adjusted for stock splits, stock dividends, recapitalizations, and corporate reorganizations as they occurred; however, no effort has been made to reflect the cost of brokerage commissions or of taxes.

Total-return percentages shown are the returns received by the hypothetical investor described above. The five-year and 10-year returns are the annual rates, compounded.

Medians

No attempt has been made to calculate the median figures in the tables for groups of fewer than four companies. The medians for profit changes from 2009 to 2010 do not include companies that lost money in 2009 or lost money in both 2009 and 2010, because no meaningful percentage changes can be calculated in such cases.

Credits

This Fortune Directory was prepared under the direction of senior list editor L. Michael Cacace. Income statement and balance sheet data were reviewed and verified against published earnings releases, 10-K filings, and annual reports by reporter Douglas G. Elam and accounting specialists Richard K. Tucksmith and Rhona Altschuler.

Markets editor Kathleen Smyth used those same sources to check the data for earnings per share. In addition, she used data provided by Thomson Reuters and Compustat to calculate total return and market capitalization. Database administrator Larry Shine provided technical support. Research director Marilyn H. Adamo, Viki Goldman, Cynthia Gowen, and Kathleen Lyons assisted with data gathering and verification. The data verification process was aided by information provided by Boardroom Insiders; Capital IQ; Compustat; SNL Financial; A.M. Best; Hoover's; Morningstar Document Research; and Zacks Investment Research.

Fortune 1000

This year, only Fortune 500 companies are being published online. To see the full Fortune 1000, get the Fortune 500+ web app.

Contacts

If you have further questions about the Fortune 500, please e-mail lists@cnnmoney.com.

Issue date: May 23, 2011
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Rank # of Fortune 500 Companies
New York 57
California 53
Texas 51
Company Rank
Microsoft 38
Goldman Sachs 54
Intel 56
Company 2010 $ (millions)
Exxon Mobil $30,460.0
AT&T $19,864.0
Chevron $19,024.0
FAQ and methodology
Included in the survey are U.S. incorporated companies filing financial statements with a government agency. This includes private companies... More
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