New York City housed 86 of the nation's largest companies, more than any other city in the country, Forbes magazine reports in its 1988 rankings of the 500 biggest businesses.

Chicago was the second-most popular site for "Forbes 500" companies, with a total of 51.New York led the states, with 110 of the 796 companies listed on the four separate Forbes lists. It was followed by California, with 87 companies.

The magazine publishes separate rankings of the nation's 500 largest businesses on the basis of sales, profits, assets and stock-market value.

General Motors Corp. had the most sales $101.782 billion but International Business Machines Corp. was the most profitable company in the country, earning $5.258 billion. IBM was also the most highly valued company, with an equity value of $68.960 billion, while Citicorp, the giant banking company, had the most assets, $203.607 billion worth.

Among cities, Los Angeles was third with 38, Houston fourth with 20 and Dallas fifth with 18.

St. Louis was sixth, with 16. Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis tied for seventh, with 15 apiece, while Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco finished in a dead heat for 10th with 14 each.

The rest of the top 10 states: Illinois (60), Texas (47), Ohio and Pennsylvania (44 each), New Jersey (34), Connecticut (30), Massachusetts (27), Missouri (25) and Michigan (24).