The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is one of the oldest and probably best-known stock indexes in the world. It is composed of 30 U.S.-based "blue chip" stocks, which change periodically based on market fluctuations and the fortunes of the individual companies. Seven of the 10 largest U.S. companies ranked by market capitalisation are members of the DJIA; Amazon.com, Facebook and Google were not members as of 24 March 2020.
However, all 10 are components of the S&P 500, which tracks the performance of 500 large-cap American stocks and is probably the most widely-followed stock index.
Top 10 U.S. Companies By Market Cap
These are the 10 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. by market capitalisation as of 24 March 2020 in U.S. dollars. Market cap is calculated by multiplying the number of the company's common shares outstanding by the market value of each share.
Microsoft is the most valuable publicly traded company in the U.S., with a market cap of about US$1.1 trillion as of 24 March 2020.
Based in Redmond, Washington, the company was founded in 1975 by Bill Gates, the second-richest person in the world, according to Forbes magazine, with a net worth of US$102.4 billion. Steve Ballmer, who succeeded Gates as chief executive officer and ran the company from 2000 to 2014, is the eighth-richest, at US$60.2 billion.
The company originally built computer software but has since branched out to multiple hardware and software products and services, which it either manufactures or licenses to others. With more than 140,000 full-time employees, the company's main products include the Office suite of computer programs, its Outlook email system, Skype, and OneDrive.
Microsoft owns the LinkedIn professional networking website as well, and its consumer hardware products include the Surface tablet computer and the series of Xbox gaming consoles. It also operates the Bing search engine, the MSN news website, the Edge and Internet Explorer web browsers, and cloud computing services.
Apple Inc. ranks second in the U.S. in terms of market cap, at US$1.08 trillion at 24 March 2020, although it was the first company to top the US$1 trillion mark.
Based in Cupertino, California, Apple was founded in 1977 by then-high school classmates Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak, who operated out of Jobs' family's garage. The two went on to create the world's first personal computer.
The company, which employs 137,000 full-time employees, designs and produces dozens of hardware and software products. They include Mac desktop PCs and laptops, iPad tablet computers, iPhones, Apple Watches and Apple TV.
Apple also operates a global chain of consumer retail stores in which it sells its products. In addition, it operates the online App Store, where people can download and stream mobile phone apps, music, movies and other entertainments. It operates Apple Pay as well, which is a cashless payment system.
Amazon.com, the largest online retailer as well as a major cloud services provider, is the third-largest U.S. company by market cap, at US$965.8 billion as of 24 March 2020. The company was founded in 1994 in Seattle by Jeff Bezos. He eventually became the richest person in the world, according to Forbes' real-time reporting, and is worth US$123.4 billion as of 24 March 2020.
The company started out selling books, CDs and movies on the web before branching out into a vast retail operation selling just about everything worldwide. It also created and markets Kindle and Fire tablets, Fire TVs and Echo virtual personal assistants. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) unit offers cloud storage and software to corporations.
The company also owns the Whole Foods grocery chain and Ring, a home security product. It employs nearly 800,000 full-time employees, most of them warehouse, transport and delivery workers.
Google was founded in 1998 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page as an online computer search engine but has grown into one of the largest companies in the world. It offers more than 50 products and services, including its Android operating system for mobile phones and tablets, and dozens of popular apps, including Google Maps and Google Play. It also owns the YouTube video platform. Google derives most of its revenue from online advertising through its search engine.
Google had a market cap of US$725.7 billion as of 24 March 2020, ranking fourth. The company, whose parent is Alphabet Inc., is based in Mountain View, California, and employs nearly 119,000 people.
Facebook is the fifth-largest U.S. company by market cap, at US$387 billion as of 24 March, 2020. The company was founded in 2004 by CEO Mark Zuckerberg and three of his classmates while they were at Harvard University and is now the largest social networking company in the world. Zuckerberg is the world's sixth-richest person, worth US$62.4 billion according to Forbes as of 24 March 2020.
Based in Menlo Park, California, the company employs nearly 45,000 people. In addition to its flagship social network, the company also owns the Facebook Messenger messaging app; Instagram, a photo and video sharing platform; and WhatsApp, a private messaging app.
Walmart is the largest retailer in the world, with more than double the annual sales revenue of Amazon. However, its market cap is only about a third that of Amazon's, at US$325.8 billion as of 20 March 2020, ranking it sixth-largest company in the U.S.
Based in Bentonville, Arkansas, the company was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton. After starting out in rural areas, the company grew worldwide. In addition to its flagship Walmart stores, it also operates the Sam's Club discount warehouse chain, Walmart Supercenters, and Walmart.com.
The company now employs more than 2 million people worldwide. Its stores offer a wide variety of merchandise, including food, pharmacy, clothing, and personal and household products.
7. Johnson & Johnson
Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is the seventh-largest U.S. company by market cap, at US$314.2 billion as of 24 March 2020. The company was founded in 1887 and is one of the oldest companies in the top 10. It is based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and employs about 132,000 people.
J&J produces a wide variety of consumer and professional medical products and services. Its best-known brands include Band-Aids, Tylenol and Motrin pain relievers, Listerine mouthwash, Stayfree and Carefree feminine products, Aveeno skin care products, and Johnson's baby powder and shampoo.
8. JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. It is also the eighth-largest company in the States as ranked by market cap, at US$271.8 billion as of 24 March 2020.
The New York-based bank represents the consolidation of several large banks throughout the U.S., culminating with the December 2000 merger of J.P. Morgan and Chase Manhattan. The Morgan side of the bank dates back to the 1800s, including the merger of J.P. Morgan and Company and Guaranty Trust Company, which was later renamed Morgan Guaranty. The Chase side includes such former banking giants as Bank One and Manufacturers Hanover, which themselves were conglomerations of many other banks.
Today the bank operates worldwide and offers consumer and commercial banking. It employs nearly 257,000 people.
Visa dates back to 1958, when Bank of America created the first general purpose consumer credit card, called BankAmericard, which was renamed Visa in 1976-77. Visa was originally owned by the banks that issued credit cards through it before eventually becoming an independent public company in 2007.
10. Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble is one of the world's largest consumer household products companies, and it's the 10th-largest U.S. company by market cap, at US$255 billion as of 24 March 2020.
Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, the company was founded in 1837 when British-born candlemaker William Procter merged his business with that of James Gamble, an Irish-born soap maker. The company got a major boost during the American Civil War by supplying both products to the Union Army, and it grew from there.
Today the company operates worldwide and employs more than 97,000 people. Its many well-known brands include Ivory, Head & Shoulders, Pampers, Gillette, Crest, Old Spice, Vicks, Tide, Charmin, Mr. Clean and Swiffer.
The 10 largest companies in the U.S. ranked by market capitalisation include many of the most successful and best-known firms in the world. The top five are all relatively young technology companies, while the latter five include more old-line firms. Seven of the 10 are components of the DJIA, and all 10 are part of the S&P 500.