The richest people on the planet added $15.2 billion to their collective net worth this week as global markets rose on speculation that Europe will move to ease borrowing costs in Italy and Spain.
The week’s biggest gainer was Spanish retail tycoon Amancio Ortega, who added $3 billion to his fortune after Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer, announced plans to build a 753,000 square-foot logistics center in Spain’s Guadalajara province. Inditex shares were up 3.8 per cent for the week. Ortega’s gain came as Spain’s unemployment rate reached 24.6 per cent, the highest on record. With a net worth of $43.5 billion, the 76-year-old is Europe’s richest man, and ranks fourth on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“At the beginning of the week we had a flood of bad news, starting with Greece and culminating with Spain credit at all- time wides,” said Nelson Saiers, chief investment officer of Alphabet Management LLC, a New York-based hedge fund with more than $500 million under management. “When Mario Draghi came out midweek and said the ECB would do whatever it takes to protect the euro, that hit the brakes on the bad news and the market ripped,” he said, referring to the European Central Bank president. US stocks rose, commodities climbed and the euro strengthened yesterday amid speculation that European policy makers may take steps to ease the debt crisis.
Stocks were further bolstered after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said their countries are “bound by the deepest duty” to keep the euro area intact and that they will do “everything” necessary to protect the single currency.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index posted a 1.7 per cent gain during the week to close at 1385.97 in New York. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.64 per cent.
Facebook Inc co-founder and chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, continued his slide down the ranks of the world’s billionaires as shares of the world’s largest social-networking company plunged to a record low after its first earnings report showed a slower sales gain and narrower profit margins.
The 28-year-old’s fortune plummeted $2.5 billion during the week. His fortune now stands at $12.1 billion.
Other Facebook shareholders also took a hit. Dustin Moskovitz, 28, who started the company with Zuckerberg from their dorm room at Harvard University, owns 133.7 million shares of the company’s Class B stock worth $3.2 billion, down $1.9 billion since the IPO.
Eduardo Saverin, 30, has a $1.3 billion stake, down $760 million since the offering. According to a regulatory filing dated May 17, he owns 53.1 million shares of the company.