The 40 richest people on the planet added a combined $15.7 billion to their collective net worth this week as markets rose on speculation that central banks will take steps to boost the global economy.
Spanish retail tycoon Amancio Ortega, 76, became Europe’s richest man on June 13, after shares of Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer, surged 12 percent in a day. The company, which operates the Zara and Pull & Bear chains, reported a 30 percent gain in first-quarter profit, elevating Ortega to the fourth spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Ortega’s ascent came as Spain asked to borrow 100 billion euros ($126 billion) from European Union rescue funds last weekend to recapitalize its banking system. He is worth $40.1 billion.
“I don’t think the Spanish bailout was a positive factor this week,” said Stephen Pendergast, first vice president and investment officer at Wells Fargo Advisors, in a phone interview from his office in Danbury, Connecticut. “A week ago, it looked like the banking system was on the precipice. Now it looks like there’s financial liquidity everywhere. Whatever the outcome of the Greek vote is, the banking system and the E.U. look ready to move on.”
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.94 percent during the week after the Bank of England said it will provide billions of pounds of emergency aid to U.K. lenders. Investors are awaiting the results of Greece’s parliamentary elections this weekend.
The S&P 500 rose 1.3 percent during the week to close at 1342.84 in New York June 15. U.S. stocks rose amid negative reports on consumer confidence and industrial output. Federal Reserve policy makers will meet next week to decide whether more economic stimulus is needed.
Carlos Slim, 72, remains the world’s richest person with a net worth of $66.5 billion. The telecommunications tycoon gained $800 million after his Mexico City-based America Movil (AMXL) SAB said it will increase its stake in Royal KPN NV, the biggest phone operator in Holland.
Slim also disclosed in a regulatory filing that he controls 8.4 percent of Buenos Aires-based YPF SA (YPFD), Argentina’s top oil producer. The company’s shares rose 1.88 percent June 15.
Bill Gates is $5.5 billion behind Slim. The 56-year-old Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US) co-founder’s fortune rose more than $700 million as shares of the Redmond, Washington-based company gained 1.25 percent.
No. 3 on the index is Warren Buffett, who is worth $45.9 billion. The Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chairman agreed to buy the Bryan-College Station Eagle newspaper from closely held Evening Post Publishing Co. Berkshire stock closed up 1.13 percent for the week.
Eike Batista, Brazil’s richest man, lost $171.6 million after saying he would sell off more of his natural-resources empire. The 55-year-old said he’ll flip a $500 million stake in his EBX Group Co. holding company to an Asian investor by next month, and 49 percent of gold miner AUX for $2 billion by the end of 2012, O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reported June 14.
Batista told Bloomberg News he plans to sell as much as half of coal producer CCX Carvao da Colombia SA this year. His estimated net worth of $25.3 billion makes him the world’s 13th richest person.
Two weeks after falling from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg returned to the ranking June 15, after shares of the world’s largest social media company jumped almost 11 percent for the week. Zuckerberg, 28, added $868.2 million to his fortune on Friday, when Facebook stock rose $1.72. Shares of the Menlo Park, California-based company are down 21 percent from their May 17 offering price.
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s net worth soared 8.4 percent after Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding Co. (KINGDOM) had its biggest weekly gain in more than two years. The company, which is raising funds to pay for the construction of the world’s tallest tower, sold a stake in the Movenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach Phuket in Thailand, for $90 million.
Alwaleed was also named the region’s most powerful person by Arabian Business magazine.
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, 78, lost $409 million as shares of his Nevada-based Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS:US) fell 2.06 percent. The casino operator continued his political giving binge by donating $10 million to a super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. With a net worth of $20.8 billion, Adelson is the 22nd richest person in the world.
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index takes measure of the world’s wealthiest people based on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day at 5:30 p.m. in New York and listed in U.S. dollars.
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