The world’s 10 richest people have seen a combined $158 billion erased from their fortunes by the sell-off in stocks this month, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Warren Buffett is the only one among them whose wealth has grown this year.
The famed investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO’s net worth has increased by $2.6 billion to $112 billion as of Tuesday’s close, reflecting a roughly 2% rise in his company’s stock this month. Buffett has donated half of his Berkshire “A” shares since 2006, but still owns around 239,000 shares worth $110 billion today.
Buffett’s rich-list rivals are having a much tougher January. Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s fortune has shrunk by $33 billion to $237 billion, driven by a 23% decline in the electric-vehicle stock this month. Similarly, Amazon cofounder Jeff Bezos has seen his net worth fall by $27 billion to $165 billion, due to a 18% slump in the e-commerce group’s stock price this year.
LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and former CEO Steve Ballmer, Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison are all in the red too, reflecting sharp declines in the value of their stock holdings this month.
Excluding Buffett, the nine centibillionaires’ fortunes have shrunk by an average of $18 billion this year. On the other hand, they’re still worth a combined $1.2 trillion on paper.
Buffett has weathered the stock-market downturn better than his billionaire peers because of an ongoing shift in risk appetite. The prospect of stubborn inflation and the
hiking interest rates this year has spurred investors to pull their money out of highly valued growth stocks, and plow it into stable, cheaper equities such as Berkshire instead.
Berkshire owns scores of “real-economy” businesses including Geico, See’s Candies, and the Burlington Northern railway. Buffett’s company also holds multibillion-dollar stakes in relatively staid companies such as American Express, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, and Kraft Heinz. As a result, many investors view Berkshire stock as a safe place to park their money.
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