The world’s wealthiest people lost a combined $45.7 billion this week, as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index pared its worst weekly drop since November amid better- than-estimated earnings.
Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, 87, overtook Amancio Ortega of Spain for one day, on Thursday, to become Europe’s wealthiest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which expanded to 200 names this week. He relinquished the position to the 77-year-old Spaniard yesterday after Inditex, owner of the Zara retail chain, the world’s biggest clothing retailer, jumped on a buy recommendation from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Ortega is No. 4 on the index with a net worth of $53.1 billion, $100 million ahead of Kamprad.
The brief drop for Ortega reflects “slightly lower sales growth expectations for Inditex and the continued performance and strength of the Ikea brand,” Rahul Sharma, managing director of London-based retail consultancy Neev Capital, said in a phone interview. “Inditex shares have done remarkably well over the past few years and had a phenomenal last twelve months. We are now seeing sales start to slow just a little and this is reflected in a more normalized share price.”
Commodities fell to a nine-month low on Monday, led by the worst plunge in gold since 1980. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 2.1 percent during the week to close at 1555.25 in New York. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 2.5 percent, closing at 285.21.
The aggregate wealth of the index stands at $2.8 trillion. The group has gained a combined $113 billion this year.
Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim, 73, remains the richest person in the world with a fortune of $72.5 billion, down $2.1 billion for the week. Slim’s Mexico City-based America Movil SAB, the largest wireless carrier in the Americas by subscribers, dropped the most in a month after smartphone discounts contributed to a 17 percent decline in first-quarter profit.
Second is Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, 57, with $68.3 billion. No. 3 on the index is Warren Buffett, 82, with a net worth of $56.3 billion.
Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), the largest investor in Coca-Cola Co. (KO), jumped the most since January in New York trading on Tuesday on gains in the value of its stake in the soft-drink maker.
Charles Ergen, the billionaire chairman and co-founder of Englewood, Colorado-based Dish Network Corp. (DISH:US), the third-largest U.S. pay-TV provider, offered $25.5 billion on Monday to acquire Sprint Nextel Corp. (S:US), the third-biggest U.S. wireless carrier.
In making his offer, Ergen, 60, is going up against fellow billionaire Masayoshi Son, president of Tokyo-based Softbank Corp. (9984) and Japan’s second-richest man, who offered $20.1 billion for control of Sprint in October.
Softbank isn’t currently planning to raise its offer after Dish made a competing bid, an executive at the Japanese company said yesterday. Ergen ranks 87th on the index with a net worth of $11.7 billion, while Son, 55, is 96th with a $10.8 billion fortune.
Hedge-fund manager John Paulson’s wager on gold wiped out about $1 billion of his personal wealth earlier in the week as the precious metal plunged 13 percent in two sessions through April 15, the biggest slump since 1980.
Paulson, who became a billionaire in 2007 by betting against the U.S. subprime mortgage market, had about $9.5 billion of his own money invested across his hedge funds at the start of this year, of which 85 percent was in gold share classes. The 57-year-old is ranked 105th on the index with a net worth of $10.3 billion.
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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