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April 5, 2004 BW Magazine Table of Contents

April 5, 2004 Special Report -- BusinessWeek 50 Table of Contents

The Best Performers
It helps to be in the right market at the right time, but it certainly doesn't guarantee a spot in the BusinessWeek 50. The companies on this year's list rose above their rivals, often by learning to think like their customers

Online Extra: Interactive S&P 500 Scoreboard

Online Extra: Interactive S&P MidCap Scoreboard

Online Extra: Interactive S&P SmallCap Scoreboard

The Ingredients For BW50 Success

Top Prospects
A guide to the best investment prospects. This year's hot tickets: Homebuilding, consumer finance, and electronic retailing

Photo Essay: The Rankings
From an Ohio insurance innovator to a 100-year-old motorcycle maker, here's the Class of 2004

Online Extra: Has Progressive Gotten Ahead of Itself?
The auto insurer, No. 1 on the new BW50, has had such a great year that many analysts now say its stock may be fully valued, if not overvalued

Online Extra: Why Cendant Is Resurgent
Having left scandal behind, the travel and real estate giant is improving its performance and financial transparency

Online Extra: Vim and Vigor at UnitedHealth
This health-care giant has stayed strong through diversification, expansion, and savvy use of money-saving technology

Online Extra: Forest Labs: A Little Giant Rises
The drugmaker has two potential blockbusters, and analysts say its smaller size makes it hungrier for success, which it seems to find regularly

Online Extra: High Expectations for Lowe's
Home Depot's smaller rival appears better-positioned to keep its stock outperforming, even if the economy slips

Online Extra: How Lowe's Hammers Home Depot
President Robert Niblock credits his company's higher BW50 ranking to "the drive to go out there and really take care of the customer"

Online Extra: Centex: Raising the Roof
CEO Timothy Eller explains how everything from homebuilding to mortgages to pest elimination is helping keep growth strong

Online Extra: ChevronTexaco's "Oily" Problem
It's pumping profits now, but they're tied quite tightly to crude prices, which could slide before its natural gas fields kick in

Online Extra: MBNA: King of the Plastic Frontier
By successfully marketing affinity-group cards and targeting top-tier customers, it's thriving in a crowded market

Online Extra: Minding the Pump at St. Jude Medical
CEO Terry Shepherd says its cardiac devices are finding "a large, thirsty, needy market." So why is the 51-year-old retiring?

Online Extra: ExxonMobil: More Power Ahead?
Analysts say the giant's diverse businesses and solid balance sheet could keep its stock rising despite expected crude price declines

Online Extra: Why ExxonMobil "Makes Bets Early"
Says CEO Lee Raymond: "The time scale this industry operates on is different from other industries," making savvy foresight key

Online Extra: Will J&J Acquire a Growth Pill?
Its stock has sagged under worries the drugmaker will slow down. One answer, say analysts, is to buy something -- maybe something big

Online Extra: Starbucks: A Bit Overheated?
If high expectations go unmet, that might stall the gourmet coffee chain's share price -- and give new investors a chance to buy in

Online Extra: Starbucks' Plan to Brew Growth
Despite a rapid expansion in the U.S. and abroad, CEO Orin Smith says plenty of territory is yet to be conquered

Online Extra: Staples: Riding High on Small Biz
CEO Ron Sargent talks about how focusing less on the consumer market has helped spark a dramatic turnaround

Online Extra: PepsiCo: "Getting into Niches"
Chairman and CEO Steven Reinemund sees growth in underserved ethnic and demographic groups, especially Hispanics and African Americans

Online Extra: Full Steam Ahead for Carnival
CEO Micky Arison talks about how the cruise-ship giant regained speed following the post-September 11 doldrums

Online Extra: Apollo: Growth by Degrees
CEO Todd Nelson is convinced that fear of outsourcing is leading lots of workers back to school, especially to his for-profit colleges

Online Extra: KB Home: Cyclical No Longer?
The homebuilder is trying to persuade investors that rising rates won't disrupt its strong performance. Some pros aren't persuaded

Online Extra: A Sharp Eye on Humana's Health
Some analysts think the resurgent managed-care provider could soon hit a rough patch. CEO Michael McCallister thinks otherwise

Performance Rankings -- S&P 500 (.pdf)

Industry Rankings -- S&P 500 (.pdf)

Index of Companies (.pdf)

Playing the 500

S&P's David Blitzer with tips on how investors can use this benchmark index
The Rankings
Data: Standard & Poor's Compustat
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