DEFINITION of 'Forbes 500'

An annual ranking list of the top 500 U.S. companies. The list is determined by five different categories where U.S. companies are ranked based on the largest number of sales, profits, assets, employees and market value. This Forbes list was replaced in 2003 by the Forbes Global 2000.

BREAKING DOWN 'Forbes 500'

This list was a good way to determine the aggregate influence of the largest U.S. companies. The new list, the Forbes Global 2000, is determined based on a similar premise but takes international firms into consideration as well.

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