Apple Tops Barron’s 500, Ranks 6th on Fortune 500


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Apple secured the sixth place on the Fortune 500 list (via CNET), thus cracking the Fortune Top 10 list in 2013. This is a huge jump from last year’s 17th place. The Cupertino, California-based company is separated from the No. 1 spot by Walmart (topping the list), Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Philips 66, and Berkshire Hathaway.

Apple is bigger than ever — the company cracked the Fortune 10 this year. But it’s a high-pressure job, being king of the hill. At Apple’s press event this past October, it maintained more than disrupted with its software upgrades and iPad mini announcement. Also, this past year has seen a lot of CEO Tim Cook having to apologize — once in September for the failure of Apple’s maps app, and then to Chinese consumers this April for slow repair services — this in a market that Cook said this past January would be Apple’s largest. Still, when every executive wants to invent the iPod of ___, Apple remains an innovation icon.

However, this isn’t the only noteworthy jump. Apple topped the Barron’s 500 list (via Fortune) published on Saturday. The company was awarded the top spot due to its stellar operating performance. Last year it ranked No. 2, while in 2011 it took fourth place on the 500 list.

And now for some good news about Apple . Its stock might be losing altitude and cachet, but its stellar operating performance finally has catapulted the company into the No. 1 spot in the Barron’s 500, up from No. 2 in 2012 and No. 4 in 2011. Apple has shown what it takes — terrific sales growth and wisely deployed cash flow — to be a winner in our annual ranking, which seeks to identify businesses that have done the best job of investing for growth.

To be sure, investors have grown fearful that Apple’s magic won’t last — so fearful that they knocked the stock down to $450 from $705 last September, erasing $239 billion from the company’s market value. But before pronouncing the creator of iPods, iPhones, and iPads a has-been, or even just an ordinary company, let’s pause to acknowledge its triumph over a tough crowd of competitors in landing at the top of our list.