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The biggest of the big: Why US is world's No. 1 economy

Microsoft is the world's largest company by market value, overtaking General Electric to reclaim that title in the latest annual ranking by London's Financial Times (FT) newspaper. As usual, US firms dominate the FT 500 list, taking up 240 spots. And despite a collective 23 percent decline in value in 2002, they are worth a combined $7.16 trillion, making the US far and away the world's biggest economy. Only one other nation, Britain, tops the $1 trillion mark. The FT top 10 countries in terms of market capitalization:

1. US
2. Britain
3. Japan
4. France
5. Switzerland
6. Germany
7. Italy
8. Canada
9. Netherlands/Britain (jointly based companies Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Unilever, and Reed Elsevier Group)
10. Spain

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