The Fortune 500, now in its 64th year, is an annual list of the largest corporations in the U.S. ranked by revenue for fiscal 2017. The companies making up the list for fiscal 2017 represented a significant two-thirds of U.S. gross domestic product with $12.8 trillion in revenue, $1 trillion in profits and $21.6 trillion in market value. The 500 firms employed 28.2 million people globally.
Walmart again topped the list, marking its sixth-straight year in the No. 1 spot. In 2017, Walmart became the first company in history to generate $500 billion in annual sales.
Coming in second was Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM - Get Report) , surpassing in rank both Apple Inc. (AAPL - Get Report) and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A - Get Report) . Only three companies have ever topped the Fortune 500 list since its inception in 1955: Exxon Mobil, Walmart and General Motors Co. (GM - Get Report) . There are 53 companies that have made the list every year for the past 64, including Exxon, GM, Chevron Corp. (CVX - Get Report) and General Electric Co. (GE - Get Report) . General Electric fell five spots in 2017 to No. 18, its lowest rank ever.
Apple dipped one spot to fourth place from third, despite a 6% gain in annual sales. The company remains the most valuable on the Fortune 500 list, though, with an $851 billion market cap at year-end. Apple also led the ranking in profit for the fourth consecutive year, earning $48 billion in 2017.
For the first time ever, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN - Get Report) eked into the top 10, earning the No. 8 ranking. At the same time, Tesla Inc. (TSLA - Get Report) was the biggest mover - the electric car company jumped 123 spots to rank No. 260 in 2017.
On average, companies in the Fortune 500 returned 18% to shareholders throughout 2017, putting the ranking just below the broader S&P 500's 21% gain for the period. Netflix Inc. (NFLX - Get Report) led all Fortune 500 companies in annual 10-year return to shareholders through 2017, while Nvidia Corp. (NVDA - Get Report) led in annual five-year return.
Utilities, insurance companies and banks led all industries on the Fortune 500. The total number of financial companies ballooned to 88 from 84, snagging about $228 billion in profits as a group last year. With Apple in the lead, five of the six most-valuable companies on the list last year were technology companies. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway was the only non-tech exception in the top five.
There were 24 female chief executives of Fortune 500 companies in 2017, down from 32 a year earlier.