In this year’s ranking of the Fortune 500, Walmart claims the top spot for the third consecutive year, CVS Health debuts in the top 10, Facebook jumps nearly 100 spots to crack the top 250 in just its third year on the list, and there are 26 new companies, including Netflix and Salesforce.com , which are making debuts.
For 2014, the Fortune 500 companies had revenues that equaled 71.9% of U.S. GDP—up from 58.4% two decades ago, and 35% in 1955, when the first list was published.
As the recovering economy picked up speed in 2014, revenue growth more than doubled. With a record cumulative total of $12.5 trillion in revenue for FY2014, America’s 500 largest corporations grew 2.6% over the previous year, twice the growth seen in post-recession 2013.
This year’s Fortune 500 generated a total of $944.5 billion in earnings, which are down 12.6% from last year’s record of $1.08 trillion, in large part because tumbling oil prices took a toll on the majority of the companies on the list. The hardest hit was the energy industry, which posted a cumulative loss of $2.8 billion.
But thanks to eager investors and surging stock markets, Wall Street was on a tear last year. Commercial banks were the most profitable industry in 2014, recording a cumulative $103.9 billion in earnings, beating out diversified financials, last year’s leader, which saw a 72% profit decrease, from $151 billion to $43 billion, owing to revenue and profit declines for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
For the year, the Fortune 500 saw a return-on-equity of 14.3%, above the historical norm of 12%, and the median 1-year total return was 15.3%, down from 38% in 2013.
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