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The World’s 20 Most Profitable Companies



Visualizing the World's 20 Most Profitable Companies

The World’s 20 Most Profitable Companies

The biggest chunk of the earnings pie is increasingly split by fewer and fewer companies.

In the U.S. for example, about 50% of all profit generated by public companies goes to just 30 companies β€” back in 1975, it took 109 companies to accomplish the same feat:

YearNumber of Firms Generating 50% of EarningsTotal Public Companies (U.S.)Portion (%)

This power-law dynamic also manifests itself at a global level β€” and perhaps it’s little surprise that the world’s most profitable companies generate mind-bending returns that would make any accountant blush.

Which Company Makes the Most Per Day?

Today’s infographic comes to us from, and it uses data from Fortune to illustrate how much profit top global companies actually rake in on a daily basis.

The 20 most profitable companies in the world are listed below in order, and we’ve also broken the same data down per second:

RankCompanyCountryProfit per DayProfit Per Second
#1Saudi AramcoπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¦ Saudi Arabia$304,039,726$3,519
#2AppleπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$163,098,630$1,888
#3Industrial & Commercial Bank of ChinaπŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ China$123,293,973$1,427
#4Samsung ElectronicsπŸ‡°πŸ‡· South Korea$109,301,918$1,265
#5China Construction BankπŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ China$105,475,068$1,221
#6JPMorgan Chase & Co.πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$88,969,863$1,030
#7AlphabetπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$84,208,219$975
#8Agricultural Bank of ChinaπŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ China$83,990,411$972
#9Bank of America Corp.πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$77,115,068$893
#10Bank of ChinaπŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ China$74,589,589$863
#11Royal Dutch ShellπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ πŸ‡³πŸ‡± UK/Netherlands$63,978,082$740
#12GazpromπŸ‡·πŸ‡Ί Russia$63,559,178$736
#13Wells FargoπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$61,350,685$710
#14FacebookπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$60,580,822$701
#15IntelπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$57,679,452$668
#16Exxon MobilπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$57,095,890$661
#17AT&TπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$53,068,493$614
#18CitigroupπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$49,438,356$572
#19Toyota MotorπŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ Japan$46,526,027$538
#20China Development BankπŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ China$45,874,795$531

The Saudi Arabian Oil Company, known to most as Saudi Aramco, is by far the world’s most profitable company, raking in a stunning $304 million of profits every day. When translated to a more micro scale, that works out to $3,519 per second.

You’ve likely seen Saudi Aramco in the news lately, though for other reasons.

The giant state-owned company has been rearing to go public at an aggressive $2 trillion valuation, but it’s since delayed that IPO multiple times, most recently stating the listing will take place in December 2019 or January 2020. Company-owned refineries were also the subject of drone attacks last month, which took offline 5.7 million bpd of oil production temporarily.

Despite these challenges, Saudi Aramco still stands pretty tall β€” after all, such blows are softened when you churn out the same amount of profit as Apple, Alphabet, and Facebook combined.

Numbers on an Annual Basis

Bringing in over $300 million per day of profit is pretty hard to comprehend, but the numbers are even more unfathomable when they are annualized.

#1Saudi AramcoπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¦ Saudi Arabia$110,974,500,000
#2AppleπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$59,531,000,000
#3Industrial & Commercial Bank of ChinaπŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ China$45,002,300,000
#4Samsung ElectronicsπŸ‡°πŸ‡· South Korea$39,895,200,000
#5China Construction BankπŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ China$38,498,400,000
#6JPMorgan Chase & Co.πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$32,474,000,000
#7AlphabetπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$30,736,000,000
#8Agricultural Bank of ChinaπŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ China$30,656,500,000
#9Bank of America Corp.πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$28,147,000,000
#10Bank of ChinaπŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ China$27,225,200,000
#11Royal Dutch ShellπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ πŸ‡³πŸ‡± UK/Netherlands$23,352,000,000
#12GazpromπŸ‡·πŸ‡Ί Russia$23,199,100,000
#13Wells FargoπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$22,393,000,000
#14FacebookπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$22,112,000,000
#15IntelπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$21,053,000,000
#16Exxon MobilπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$20,840,000,000
#17AT&TπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$19,370,000,000
#18CitigroupπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States$18,045,000,000
#19Toyota MotorπŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ Japan$16,982,000,000
#20China Development BankπŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ China$16,744,300,000

On an annual basis, Saudi Aramco is raking in $111 billion of profit per year, and that’s with oil prices sitting in the $50-$70 per barrel range.

To put this number in perspective, take a look at Chevron. The American oil giant is one of the 20 biggest companies on the S&P 500, but it generated just $15 billion in profit in 2018 and currently sits at a $221 billion market capitalization.

That puts Chevron’s profits at roughly 10% of Aramco’s β€” and if Aramco does IPO at a $2 trillion valuation, that would put Chevron at roughly 10% of its market cap, as well.

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Visualizing the Expanse of the ETF Universe

The global ETF universe has grown to be worth $5.75 trillion β€” here’s how the assets break down by type, sector, and investment focus.



Visualizing the Expanse of the ETF Universe

View the high resolution version of this infographic by clicking here.

Under the right circumstances, an innovation can scale and flourish.

Within the financial realm, there is perhaps no better example of this than the introduction of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), a new financial technology that emerged out of the index investing phenomenon of the early 1990s.

Since the establishment of the first U.S. ETF in 1993, the financial instrument has gained broad traction β€” and today, the ETF universe has an astonishing $5.75 trillion in assets under management (AUM), covering almost every niche imaginable.

Navigating the ETF Universe

Today’s data visualization comes to us from iShares by BlackRock, and it visualizes the wide scope of assets covered by the ETF universe.

To start, let’s look at a macro breakdown of the “galaxies” that can be found in the universe:

 Global ETFs (AUM, $USD)Share of Global Total
All ETFs$5.75 trillion100.00%
Equities$4.39 trillion76.4%
Bonds$1.12 trillion19.5%
Alternative$0.20 trillion3.5%
Money market$0.04 trillion0.6%

As you can see, equities are by far the largest galaxy in the ETF universe, making up 76.4% of all assets. These clusters likely comprise the ETFs you are most familiar with β€” for example, funds that track the S&P 500 index or foreign markets.

That said, it’s worth noting that the fastest expanding galaxy is bond ETFs, tracking indices related to the debt issued by governments and corporations. The first bond ETFs were introduced in 2002, and since then the category has grown into a market that exceeds $1 trillion in AUM. Bond ETFs are expected to surpass the $2 trillion mark by 2024.

Everything Under the Sun

While the sheer scale of the ETF universe is captivating, it’s the variety that shows you how ubiquitous the instrument has become.

Today, there are over 8,000 ETFs globally, covering nearly every asset class imaginable. Here are some of the lesser-known and more peculiar corners in the ETF universe:

Thematic ETFs: Gaining popularity in recent years, thematic ETFs are built around long-term trends such as climate change or rapid urbanization. By having more tangible focus points, these funds can also appeal to younger generations of investors.

Contrarian ETFs: In a healthy market, there can be a variety of different positions being taken by investors. Contrarian ETFs help to make this possible, allowing investors to bet against the “herd”.

Factor-based ETFs: This approach uses a rules-based system for selecting investments in the fund portfolio, based on factors typically associated with higher returns such as value, small-caps, momentum, low volatility, quality, or yield.

Global Macro ETFs: Some ETFs are designed to mimic strategies used by hedge fund managers. One example of such a strategy is global macro, which aims to analyze the macroeconomic environment, while taking corresponding long and short positions in various equity, fixed income, currency, commodities, and futures markets.

Commodity ETFs: There are ETFs that track gold or oil, sometimes even storing physical inventories. Interestingly, however, there are commodity ETFs for even more obscure metals and agricultural products, such as zinc, lean hogs, tin, or cocoa beans.

Whether your investments track popular market indices or you are more surgical about your portfolio exposure, the ETF universe is impressively vast β€” and it’s projected to keep expanding in size and diversity for years to come.

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Chart of the Week

Visualizing the Biggest Risks to the Global Economy in 2020

The Global Risk Report 2020 paints an unprecedented risk landscape for 2020β€”one dominated by climate change and other environmental concerns.



Top Risks in 2020: Dominated by Environmental Factors

Environmental concerns are a frequent talking point drawn upon by politicians and scientists alike, and for good reason. Irrespective of economic or social status, climate change has the potential to affect us all.

While public urgency surrounding climate action has been growing, it can be difficult to comprehend the potential extent of economic disruption that environmental risks pose.

Front and Center

Today’s chart uses data from the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risks Report, which surveyed 800 leaders from business, government, and non-profits to showcase the most prominent economic risks the world faces.

According to the data in the report, here are the top five risks to the global economy, in terms of their likelihood and potential impact:

Top Global Risks (by "Likelihood") Top Global Risks (by "Impact")
#1Extreme weather#1Climate action failure
#2Climate action failure#2Weapons of mass destruction
#3Natural disasters#3Biodiversity loss
#4Biodiversity loss#4Extreme weather
#5Humanmade environmental disasters#5Water crises

With more emphasis being placed on environmental risks, how much do we need to worry?

According to the World Economic Forum, more than we can imagine. The report asserts that, among many other things, natural disasters are becoming more intense and more frequent.

While it can be difficult to extrapolate precisely how environmental risks could cascade into trouble for the global economy and financial system, here are some interesting examples of how they are already affecting institutional investors and the insurance industry.

The Stranded Assets Dilemma

If the world is to stick to its 2Β°C global warming threshold, as outlined in the Paris Agreement, a significant amount of oil, gas, and coal reserves would need to be left untouched. These assets would become β€œstranded”, forfeiting roughly $1-4 trillion from the world economy.

Growing awareness of this risk has led to a change in sentiment. Many institutional investors have become wary of their portfolio exposures, and in some cases, have begun divesting from the sector entirely.

The financial case for fossil fuel divestment is strong. Fossil fuel companies once led the economy and world stock markets. They now lag.

– Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

The last couple of years have been a game-changer for the industry’s future prospects. For example, 2018 was a milestone year in fossil fuel divestment:

  • Nearly 1,000 institutional investors representing $6.24 trillion in assets have pledged to divest from fossil fuels, up from just $52 billion four years ago;
  • Ireland became the first country to commit to fossil fuel divestment. At the time of announcement, its sovereign development fund had $10.4 billion in assets;
  • New York City became the largest (but not the first) city to commit to fossil fuel divestment. Its pension funds, totaling $189 billion at the time of announcement, aim to divest over a 5-year period.

A Tough Road Ahead

In a recent survey, actuaries ranked climate change as their top risk for 2019, ahead of damages from cyberattacks, financial instability, and terrorismβ€”drawing strong parallels with the results of this year’s Global Risk Report.

These growing concerns are well-founded. 2017 was the costliest year on record for natural disasters, with $344 billion in global economic losses. This daunting figure translated to a record year for insured losses, totalling $140 billion.

Although insured losses over 2019 have fallen back in line with the average over the past 10 years, Munich RE believes that long-term environmental effects are already being felt:

  • Recent studies have shown that over the long term, the environmental conditions for bushfires in Australia have become more favorable;
  • Despite a decrease in U.S. wildfire losses compared to previous years, there is a rising long-term trend for forest area burned in the U.S.;
  • An increase in hailstorms, as a result of climate change, has been shown to contribute to growing losses across the globe.

The Ball Is In Our Court

It’s clear that the environmental issues we face are beginning to have a larger real impact. Despite growing awareness and preliminary actions such as fossil fuel divestment, the Global Risk Report stresses that there is much more work to be done to mitigate risks.

How companies and governments choose to respond over the next decade will be a focal point of many discussions to come.

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