Firms in Favor Call Texas Home

DALLAS Texas ranked third behind California and New York in the number of companies on the Fortune list of the nation’s most admired firms, the magazine said.

Texas had 29 companies on the list to California’s 39 and New York’s 36. Two Texas firms, Southwest Airlines (3) and Dell Computer (8), made the list of 20 companies most admired across all industry lines.

General Electric, based in Fairfield, Conn., ranked first across all industries, followed by FedEx of Memphis, Tenn.

Wal-Mart Stores, headquartered in Bentonville, Ark., ranked 12th among all types of companies and third among general merchandisers behind Seattle-based Nordstrom and Target in Minneapolis. J.C. Penney in Plano, Texas, ranked fourth.

Texas-based airlines took the top three positions in ratings by their industry. Houston-based Continental Airlines bested Southwest of Dallas, with American Airlines in Fort Worth, Texas, at No. 3.

Seven Texas companies ranked No. 1 in their industries, including Continental. Irving, Texas-based ExxonMobil, which ranked No. 1 in petroleum refining, was also first in two other categories: financial soundness and long-term investment.

San Antonio-based SBC Global, which took the name AT&T after acquiring the original Ma Bell in a $16 billion deal last October, ranked first among telecommunications companies, followed by Sprint Nextel and Verizon Communications.

Texas Instruments in Dallas ranked first among chip-makers, and Houston-based Sysco led all food and grocery wholesalers. Apache of Houston was first for mining and crude oil production, and Kinder-Morgan, also of Houston, was tops among pipeline companies.