The numbers are in, and the amount of money fueling 2013's biggest companies is staggering...
The 10 biggest companies in the U.S. today earned a combined annual revenue of more than $2.2 trillion in fiscal 2012. That's $1.35 trillion more than the country's credit card debt, and $1.17 trillion more than total student debt.
These moneymakers have been ranked based on total revenue by Fortune. All of them are incorporated in, operated in, and filing taxes in the U.S.
See who raked in the most money this year:
10 Biggest Companies in the U.S. by Revenue
No. 1: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Wal-Mart moves from last year's second spot to this year's leader, as sales rose 5.9% to contribute to a whopping $443.9 billion in revenue in fiscal 2012.
Besides raking in the most cash, Wal-Mart made headlines this year by pushing millions onto food stamps in a mad-genius-esque scheme that was dubbed "The Wal-Mart Syndrome."
The company started 2013 trading at $69.24 per share. After some ups and downs, it's enjoyed a total climb to around $77.74 per share for a gain of just over 12%.
No. 2: Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM)
Exxon's revenue was an impressive $449.9 billion in fiscal 2012.
Even more impressive was its profit. In 2012, Exxon benchmarked the second-highest annual profit in U.S. history with a net income of $44.8 billion (the highest annual profit is its own 2008 record of $45.22 billion).
Oil giant Exxon traded at a new lifetime high Dec. 18, closing at $99.54 per share.
No. 3: Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX)
Chevron, the nation's second-largest oil company, pulled in $233.9 billion in revenue in fiscal 2012. Its stock has a 52-week low of $105.75, and high of $127.83, for an overall 20.88% gain in 2013.
Investors should keep an eye on Chevron - it intends to spend 12% more in energy exploration and investment in 2014. Also, after being banned for spilling more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil into the Atlantic, Chevron will be able to restart its business in Brazil soon.
No. 4: Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX)
Phillips 66 operates in the Refining and Marketing, Midstream, and Chemical segments of the natural gas liquid and petrochemical production business.
A sizeable $169.5 billion in sales in fiscal 2012 puts it in the fourth spot on Fortune 500's list. And its stock kicked off the year with a low of $50.58 per share on Jan. 11, but since then climbed considerably, closing at a year high of $74.03 on Dec. 20, for a solid 35% gain over 2013.
Investors should be aware that PSX upped its dividend 25% to $0.60 per share in October. According to Phillips 66 CEO Greg Garland, "Returning capital to shareholders remains a priority."
No. 5: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A)
Fiscal 2012 revenue reached $162.5 billion, and Berkshire Hathaway's per-share book value rose 14.4%. Still, Buffett calls 2012 a "subpar" year, as Standard & Poor 500's 16% gain outperformed Berkshire.
Money Morning Global Investing & Income Strategist Robert Hsu tells an interesting story involving a billionaire heiress and Berkshire Hathaway shares. That story, and a lesson in portfolio diversification, here...
No. 6: Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)
Apple's revenue hit $156.5 billion in fiscal 2012. The company's iPad was topping many Black Friday sales charts - Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) reported that Apple products constituted 22% of sales, and iPads alone were 18%, which were 10 times the sales of Android tablets at the store.
Apple stock has seen some dips this year, to as low as $390.53 in April, but now it's trading at around $554 per share, a stellar 42% year-to-date increase.
Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani has been recommending investors buy Apple stock since last June. In fact, earlier this month he appeared on FOX Business' "Varney & Co.," where he explained why he thinks the stock will keep surprising the so-called "experts" who have been bearish on Apple's future. Gilani's prediction for Apple in 2014 was so startling that host Stuart Varney asked him to repeat it.
No. 7: General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM)
General Motors earned $152.3 billion in revenue in fiscal 2012.
GM was in the headlines earlier this month when the U.S. Treasury Department sold off its remaining shares in GM, closing a chapter of the auto industry bailout with a cringe-worthy $10.5 billion loss of taxpayer dollars.
The company's stock hit $33.00 in May, finally eking its way to even with its November 2010 IPO price. Since May, the stock has steadily climbed almost 26%.
Now that the government is out of its stake in GM, there are plenty of reasons to be bullish on the stock - like these six we outlined last week.
No. 8: General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE)
The nation's largest industrial company General Electric earned $146.9 billion in revenue in fiscal 2012. It's listed as the fourth-largest company in the world in the Forbes Global 2000, and 25th best global green brand in 2013 according to Interbrand.
Its stock has enjoyed a fairly consistent, slow climb this year, from $21.34 per share in January to around $27.21 - around a 27.5% increase in 2013.
No. 9: Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO)
The world's largest independent refiner Valero Energy pulled in $138.3 billion in revenue in fiscal 2012.
Valero's stock has gone up a solid 32% over the course of 2013.
In fact, Money Morning Executive Editor and reader-favorite William Patalon III recommended Valero back in October 2011; since then, the stock has gone up 93.74%.
And last week, Deutsche Bank upgraded Valero Energy from "Hold" to "Buy," citing that the refining market is developing faster than expected. Deutsche Banks' price target for Valero suggests an 18% increase. Investors should also note that Valero has a dividend yield of 1.93%.
No. 10: Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F)
Ford's 2012 revenue was at $134.3 billion, dropping from ninth place to 10th.
Next year investors might see Ford's ranking drop off even more. Last week it announced lowered expectations for profits in 2014 (between $7 and $8 billion, as opposed to the previous expectation it would surpass $8 billion).
Ford also expects its target for global automotive operating margin is at risk because of poor economic conditions in Europe and South America that have driven shares down more than 4%.
Stocks to Buy Now: Half of all holiday shoppers will finish their last-minute shopping online this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Investors can take advantage of that stream of cash for online retail stock opportunities.
It just so turns out that Shah Gilani appeared on FOX Business last week for the best online retail stocks to buy now...
Best Stocks to Buy Now: A Money Morning Weekly Recap