What's striking about this year's class is the breadth of companies and sectors represented. The standouts include Lowe's (LOW
) and Best Buy (BBY
) in retailing; Wellpoint Health (WLP
), Stryker, and Humana (HUM
) in health care; Intel (INTC
), Dell (MSFT
), and Symantec (SYMC
) in technology; and insurers Progressive (PGR
) and ACE.
As an analytic tool, the BW50 is a useful guide to companies leading their industries as the economy gathers strength. They're pushing ahead with innovative products, creative strategies, and a clear focus on customers. For investors, the list provides a good map for finding future winners among the broad universe of companies in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. But most of all, the BW50 highlights those companies whose winning ways are role models for the rest of Corporate America.