By Charlotte Business Journal

If Duke Energyâ¿¿s proposed purchase of Progress Energy goes through, the Triangle would lose the brightest jewel on its corporate crown.

Raleigh-based Progress (NYSE:PGN) boasts easily the largest market capitalization among the public companies headquartered in the Triangle. Progress also is one of only two Triangle companies ranked among the Fortune 500.

Progress claimed the No. 239 spot on the 2010 Fortune 500, released in April. The only other Triangle company to crack the top 500 was Cary-based convenience store operator The Pantry, which was No. 317.

With a market cap of $13.1 billion at the end of trading Friday, Progress towers above a weak roster of Triangle-based public companies. Software maker Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) is a rising star with a market cap of $8.7 billion, but the Hatters are looking for a larger headquarters option, and with Austin, Texas, and Atlanta battling Raleigh and Durham for Red Hat, thereâ¿¿s no guarantee the company will stay in the Triangle.

Another technology company. Durham-based semiconductor and LED lighting maker Cree Inc. (NASDAQ:CREE), stands at $7.23 billion in market cap.

Rock quarry operator Martin Marietta (NYSE:MLM) closed Friday with a market capitalization of $3.7 billion. Another Raleigh-based company, Highwoods Properties (NYSE:HIW), has a market cap of $2.2 billion.

The Pantryâ¿¿s market cap is about $420 million. Fortune 500 rankings are based on annual revenue.

Copyright 2011 American City Business Journals
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