The dollar has lost ground against most major currencies over the past few years. According to a Harris Interactive survey, six out of seven Americans know about the dollar's slide; almost four in five think it's bad for our economy; and 60% think it's bad for exports. These folks are mostly wrong.

A falling dollar does erode U.S. consumers' purchasing power, but in many other respects, it's not as bad as it sounds.

First off, shrunken dollars are generally good for exports. A weak dollar makes foreign currencies stronger in comparison, enabling other countries to get more value when they buy our goods.

Second, some investors here in the U.S. benefit from sinking dollars by investing in companies with substantial international revenue. Merck (NYSE:MRK), for example, generates 44% of its revenue outside the U.S., and all those pesos and rubles and drams have to be converted into dollars. When foreign currencies are strong, they translate into more dollars.

How much revenue do well-known companies get from countries outside the U.S.? We've rounded up a short list, and added a few Motley Fool CAPS ratings for spice:

Company

CAPS Stars (out of 5)

Non-U.S. Revenue

Accenture (NYSE:ACN)

****

56%*

PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP)

*****

48%

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM)

****

55%

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT)

***

25%

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)

*****

49%

IBM (NYSE:IBM)

****

65%

Data: Company financial reports, Motley Fool CAPS.
*Non-Americas revenue.

Better yet, foreign revenue is often a faster-growing segment of a company's sales than its domestic take. For Wal-Mart's fiscal 2009, international revenue grew by 9.1% from the previous year, as opposed to 6.8% growth for U.S. stores (and 5.6% for Sam's Club).

When you're assessing potential investments, take a closer look at how much of their sales come from outside the U.S. A healthy chunk of international revenue can be an excellent defense against a dropping dollar.

More for your Foolish piggy bank:

Accenture and Wal-Mart are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. Try any of our investing newsletters free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of PepsiCo, Yum! Brands, Wal-Mart, and Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.