Fortune 500 releases new twist of fate for many

Wal-Mart tapped out its principal rival Exxon Mobil by appropriating victory twice consecutively for the title of America’s leading corporate powerhouse according to the Fortune 500 list, which annually ranks the top 500 U.S. companies according to their gross revenue, and publishes the list in Fortune magazine.

The discount superstore procured the first position with overwhelming sales of $421 billion. Wal-Mart’s profits increased year-on-year by 14% ($16.4 billion), in spite of the recession that had hit the U.S. market and a distressing court case.

Exxon Mobil, at second position on the Fortune 500 list, also proved to be a real money maker this past year. The leading oil manufacturer, aided by mounting oil prices, raked in an astounding $356 billion in annual revenues.

The third slot is occupied by yet another oil producer, Chevron, with $196 billion in proceeds. Also, Chevron no longer needs to compensate the Ecuadorian public (on behalf of Texaco) for the ecological destruction for which it was held responsible in recent years.

New accounting policies made way for American automaker General Motors, which ascended to the 8th position despite having barely escaped bankruptcy back in November of 2008. Also, despite the current national foreclosure predicament, two businesses in this industry finally procured positions on the list. Fannie Mae, the impoverished pseudo-government department, which had suffered losses of more than $14 billion the previous year, scaled up to number five on the list of 500, surprisingly ahead of even General Electric.

The seventh position on the same list came as a sigh of relief for Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO Warren Buffett, who’s had to deal with exceptionally dogged journalists in recent times. He’s had to explain the revelation of a noteworthy controversy involving the perceived company heir David Sokol, who had acquired stock in a certain firm which he later tried to force upon Berkshire. Sokol has since resigned from the company and an investigation is still ongoing.

The robust pharmaceutical firm Pfizer moved up to No. 31 on the Fortune 500 list this year. With declining revenue, the company board had to take upon itself the weary task of modifying some executive positions within the firm. Pfizer’s CEO Jeff Kindler was purged in December, following a long term of poor stock performance. With its exclusive rights for Lipitor and similar hit drug labels on the verge of expiration, Pfizer requires an advanced drug development system to improve sales.

At No. 110, DirecTV climbed up the list this time as profits jumped by approximately 12%, to $24.1 billion. Motivated by swift expansion in its Latin American division, the cable provider’s revenue increased two-fold. DirecTV’s CEO Mike White also was pleased to announce an additional 1.9 million new subscribers in 2010, proving a great boost to sales.

On the down-side, a large number of U.S. workers remained unemployed and disillusioned, since most of these corporate profits were comprised of both productivity gains as well as workforce cuts, costing many workers their livelihood.