4 of 20
4. Procter & Gamble
Fortune 500 rank: 22
2009 profit: $13.4 billion
During the worldwide recession, many of P&G's cash-strapped customers stopped buying brand names, opting for house brands and generics. High oil prices also cut into the consumer giant's earnings as shipping costs soared. (P&G's fiscal year began in July 2008.)

But P&G stayed profitable by raising prices for its products by $4 billion. Market share losses were minimal, and the company was actually able to grow earnings by 11% in 2009.

NEXT: 5. International Business Machines

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Last updated April 28 2010: 12:41 PM ET
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