FORTUNE — I cancelled my Barron’s subscription after the ridiculous cover story pictured at right, so I don’t have access to this year’s Barron’s 500 list. But the story promoting the fact that it’s topped by Apple (AAPL) — Congrats, You Did It! — is available to nonsubscribers.
It starts like this:
And now for some good news about Apple. Its stock might be losing altitude and cachet, but its stellar operating performance finally has catapulted the company into the No. 1 spot in the Barron’s 500, up from No. 2 in 2012 and No. 4 in 2011. Apple has shown what it takes — terrific sales growth and wisely deployed cash flow — to be a winner in our annual ranking, which seeks to identify businesses that have done the best job of investing for growth.
To be sure, investors have grown fearful that Apple’s magic won’t last — so fearful that they knocked the stock down to $450 from $705 last September, erasing $239 billion from the company’s market value. But before pronouncing the creator of iPods, iPhones, and iPads a has-been, or even just an ordinary company, let’s pause to acknowledge its triumph over a tough crowd of competitors in landing at the top of our list.
The most successful companies typically become so through a blend of vision, creativity, judgment, and circumstance. That is surely the case for Apple …