Major Companies

July 16, 2010Major Companiesby EconomyWatch


There are several prominent lists and indices that cover the largest companies in the world. While they don’t include the largest private companies such as Saudi Aramco, they do reflect a shift in gravity from developed to emerging economies.

On Economy Watch, we look at the types of companies that exist today, and their influence in the global economy. A number of indices have been developed to list the largest companies and businesses in the world. These lists tend to be dominated by US companies, with a sizable contingent of European companies.

However, in recent years we have seen the beginnings of

a trend away from companies in the developed world and towards entities from the emerging markets at a faster pace than ever before.

Its important to note that these indices can only categorize publicly listed companies, and therefore may not be truly reflective of the world pecking order.

Many authorities believe that the largest company in the world is actually Saudi Aramco, the company that controls the entire petrochemical industry in Saudi Arabia. However, since its a private company that does not report its revenues, these claims cannot be verified. 

Major Global Company Listings

Fortune Global 500

Every year, Fortune Magazine calculates the size of the largest companies in the world, and publishes the Global 500 list of the largest, together with their company profiles. 

Fortune Global Most Admired Companies

Fortune surveys executives at the top companies of the world, which it classifies as companies with market capitalization of over US $8 billion. It asks respondents to rate their peers on categories such as industry leadership, talent management and innovation, and publishes the results 

Forbes 2000 Companies 

This is an annual compendium of the biggest publicly-listed companies in the world, compiled by Forbes Magazine. The report was started in 2004, and in 2008 lists companies based in 60 different countries worldwide. Companies are ranked on a mix of metrics including market value, sales, assets and profits.

The Forbes 2000 companies account for no less than US $30 trillion of sales and own US $119 trillion of assets worldwide! 

S&P Global 1200 

The S&P Global 1200 Index is an index of global stocks that are tracked by Standard & Poor’s. The index has components from 31 countries and is estimated to include approximately 70% of worldwide stock market equity. It is composed of six regional or continental indices:

  • S&P 500 Index (US)

  • S&P/TSX 60 Index (Canada)

  • S&P Latin America 40 Index (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile)

  • S&P/TOPIX 150 Index (Japan)

  • S&P Asia 50 Index (Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan)

  • S&P Europe 350 Index (Europe)

Dow Jones Industrial Average 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average consists of 30 of the largest publicly traded companies in the US, who are also among the largest worldwide. It was created by a former Wall Street Journal editor and founder of Dow Jones & Company, Charles Dow. It is also called the DJIA, the Dow 30 or the Dow Jones. 

S&P 500 

This stock market index contains a selected group of large-cap companies listed on both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. Most of the companies listed are American. The S&P 500 Index is a subset of the S&P Global 1200 Index 

Russell 3000 Index

The Russell 3000 Index consists of the largest 3000 publicly-traded companies in the US, representing 98 percent of stock market equity in America. 

Russell 2000 Index

The Russell 2000 Index is a subset of the Russell 3000 Index, and represents the smallest companies in the US - the top 1000 companies have been removed from the list. The Russell 2000 Index allows investors to track the small-cap market, and represents 10% of the equity value of the Russell 3000 Index. 

ET 500 Companies

Dubbed the ‘Changing Face of India inc’, the Economic Times of India publishes the ET 500, the list of the largest companies in India.


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