FORTUNE -- I cancelled my Barron's subscription after the ridiculous cover story pictured at right, so I don't have access to this year's Barron's 500 list. But the story promoting the fact that it's topped by Apple (AAPL) -- Congrats, You Did It! -- is available to nonsubscribers.
It starts like this:
And now for some good news about Apple. Its stock might be losing altitude and cachet, but its stellar operating performance finally has catapulted the company into the No. 1 spot in the Barron's 500, up from No. 2 in 2012 and No. 4 in 2011. Apple has shown what it takes -- terrific sales growth and wisely deployed cash flow -- to be a winner in our annual ranking, which seeks to identify businesses that have done the best job of investing for growth.
To be sure, investors have grown fearful that Apple's magic won't last -- so fearful that they knocked the stock down to $450 from $705 last September, erasing $239 billion from the company's market value. But before pronouncing the creator of iPods, iPhones, and iPads a has-been, or even just an ordinary company, let's pause to acknowledge its triumph over a tough crowd of competitors in landing at the top of our list.
The most successful companies typically become so through a blend of vision, creativity, judgment, and circumstance. That is surely the case for Apple ...
Moves up from 59th place in 2010 based on boffo sales growth and return on investment
In what Barron's describes as "a tip of the hat" to the corporations that generated the most revenue growth and cash returns in recent years, the magazine moved Apple (AAPL) up 55 spots in its 13th annual ranking of America's 500 largest companies that aren't currently in bankruptcy.
"While such operating success might not generate immediate MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 7, 2011 12:31 PM ET
|4 federal agencies to shut Friday|
|Wall Street braces for China and Fed fallout|
|Japan plunge spooks global markets|
|Shazam overhauls iPad app as music market heats up|
|Bitcoin more powerful than fastest supercomputers|