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9 Australian Companies on the Fortune 500

SYDNEY -- U.S. markets fell again on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.3%, the S&P 500 Index closing 0.2% lower, and the Nasdaq Composite Index also falling 0.2%. Investors appear increasingly skeptical of a turnaround in Europe and concerned over U.S. growth. At one stage the Dow Jones was down 0.7%, but it recovered in late trading.

European markets fell for a fourth straight day, with the U.K.'s FTSE 100 down 0.6%, Germany's DAX down 0.4%, and Paris' CAC 40 also down 0.4%.

The Australian dollar was up slightly against the greenback, buying $1.02.

Commodities rose a bit overnight, with gold up 0.5% to $1,590.50 an ounce, while Brent crude oil jumped 2% to $100.23 a barrel. Copper was up around 0.4%.

In lighter news, Royal Dutch Shell has been crowned the No. 1 company globally in the annual Fortune 500 list, which ranks companies by revenue. Australia has nine companies in the list, including the big four banks -- BHP Billiton, Woolworths, Wesfarmers, and Telstra -- and, perhaps surprisingly, Caltex Australia Limited (ASX: CTX.AX), which comes in at No. 486 with AU$22.8 billion in revenue.

SPI says "Up" -- but not by much
The ASX SPI futures were up just five points, suggesting that the S&P/ASX 200  (INDEX: ^AXJO  ) could show a flat start to the trading day.

Today the Australian Bureau of Statistics announces May building-approval data, while National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB.AX) will release its business confidence and conditions surveys.

Insurance Australia Group (ASX: IAG.AX) is today holding a conference on Asian markets where the company has a presence. The company has recently expanded into several Asian countries as it continues its goal of achieving 10% of revenue from Asia.

Foolish takeaway
A flat start or early gains -- take your pick. Investors are likely sitting on the sidelines awaiting further developments from Europe and hoping for some positive news. Here at The Motley Fool, we continue to look for great businesses trading at cheap prices and tune out the market noise.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in BHP and Woolworths. The Motley Fool's purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool's free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, while it's still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorized by Bruce Jackson.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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