Industry: The Top 500

Size alone is no safeguard against the profit squeeze of the sluggish 1960s. This is the key message of FORTUNE'S eighth annual directory of the nation's 500 biggest industrial corporations. Though overall the companies on FORTUNE'S 1961 list boosted their sales 2.2% to a record $209 billion, their average after-tax profits on invested capital slid from 9.1% in 1960 to 8.3% last year.

Once again the Big Four were General Motors (1961 sales: $11.4 billion), Jersey Standard ($8.4 billion), Ford ($6.7 billion) and General Electric ($4.5 billion). Socony Mobil ($3.32 billion) rose from sixth to fifth, overtaking U.S. Steel ($3.3...

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