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Apple climbs from 56 to 35th place in Fortune 500

Apple has climbed 21 rungs in the Fortune 500 ranking of America's largest corporations, leaping from last year's spot at 56 to its current position at 35.

"The company not only continues to expand its reach in existing markets, it also keeps creating new ones," the report on Apple said.

In terms of revenues, Apple was well below the Fortune 500's top ten, pulling in $65 billion compared to the highest ranked Wal-Mart with $421 billion, Exxon Mobile with revenues of $354 billion, Chevron at $196 billion, and ConocoPhillips at $184 billion.

However, Apple's revenues grew 79 percent over last year, wildly outpacing the revenue growth of the top four US companies in that metric, all of which experienced between 3 and 33 percent growth. Apple's revenue growth outpaced every top ten company outside of fifth ranked Fannie Mae.

In terms of profits, Apple earned $14 billion, in contrast to the $16 billion earned by WalMart, $30 billion in profits from Exxon Mobile, $19 billion of Chevron, and $11 billion by ConocoPhillips.

Apple's annual profit growth of 146 percent was also higher than any other company in the top ten; number ten ranked Ford Motor came in second with 142 percent growth, but it earned less than half the profits of Apple despite revenues that were nearly twice as great.

Apple's profits as a percentage of revenues (21 percent), as a percentage of its assets (19 percent), and as a percentage of shareholder equity (29 percent) were all well ahead of every other firm in the Fortune 500 top ten.

Apple also returned investors 30 percent growth in earnings per share, again outranking every top ten ranked corporation, and provided an annualized total return to investors over the past decade of 46 percent, and over the past year of 53 percent.

That again makes Apple the best investment over the past decade than any other top ten ranked Fortune 500 company, and second behind Ford in appreciation over the last year (Ford returned 68 percent growth over the last year, but negative 1 percent growth over the last decade).

Apple achieved its results with 49,400 employees, fewer than any other top ten firm apart from ConocoPhillips and Fannie Mae although Apple also expanded its employee ranks the largest in 2010, growing jobs by 34 percent.

Only Fannie Mae and Berkshire Hathaway were able to generate double digit growth in jobs over the same period, with other top ten companies in the Fortune 500 either posting minimal 1 to 2 percent growth or contracting by as much as 17 percent, as did Ford.