The world’s top four fortunes lost $75 billion in three days

BFM Business

The rout of the world stock exchanges has notably brought down the heritage of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Bernard Arnault.

Simple catch-up after a year of euphoria or warning signs of a spit? The next few days will tell. But for the past few days, a wave of panic has gripped the world stock markets. In Paris, the CAC 40 dropped 2.75% on Monday, the Dow Jones nearly 2% on Wall Street and the Nasdaq tumbled 4.29%.

Particularly intense tremors at the highest level of the ranking of the greatest fortunes of the planet. Over the past three trading sessions, the four wealthiest people in the world have together lost $75 billion.

Elon Musk who weighed 268 billion dollars last week is worth “only” 229 according to Bloomberg Billionaires. Jeff Bezos went from $150 billion to $133 billion. Bill Gates limited the breakage with a setback of 7 billion ($120 billion). Finally Bernard Arnault left the podium with a decline of 132 to 120 billion dollars in a few days.

If the fall has accelerated in recent days, it has been latent since the beginning of the year. Jeff Bezos thus lost nearly 60 billion dollars in 2022, Bernard Arnault 58, Mark Zuckerberg 53 and Elon Musk more than 41.

Chinese fears

A landing that hits hardest the technology stocks that had progressed the most in a year. Thus the largest technology companies in the world have erased more than 1000 billion dollars in three stock market sessions. Since last Wednesday, Apple has lost $220 billion in capitalization, Tesla 199 billion, Microsoft 189 and Amazon 173.

It is the future evolution of monetary policies that remains the biggest concern for investors, according to analysts. Flooded with cheap money, global stock markets and technology stocks in particular had continued to swell during the pandemic. But with the return of inflation, central banks began to tighten the purse strings by raising interest rates.

“The prospect of a recession while inflation would decline very slowly contributed to a drop in almost all asset classes last week, indicates the team of strategists at La Banque Postale Asset Management. “interest rose sharply, lowering the value of bonds, while the stock markets fell sharply. It is likely that this volatility will remain very present”.

A pessimism accentuated by the Chinese situation. The country’s zero Covid strategy has led it to decree new confinements which continue to hamper the recovery. Thus, China’s exports grew in April at their weakest pace in nearly two years (+3.9%), Customs said on Monday, at the when the Shanghai lockdown heavily penalizes economic activity.

Warren Buffett floats

Faced with these worrying prospects, investors prefer to fall back on sure values. In the United States, it is the agrifood companies Campbell Soup and General Mills that are benefiting from the technological rout and in France it is distribution with Carrefour up 28% since the start of the year.

A decline which notably benefits the American billionaire Warren Buffett, the only one among the 10 greatest fortunes in the world who has seen his wealth increase in 2022. The dean of investors (91 years old) has earned 4.6 billion dollars in the last four months .

Unlike the other wealthiest people on the planet, Warren Buffett is not dependent on the fluctuations of the stock price of a single large company. The boss of the Berkshire Hathaway investment fund manages a diversified portfolio which holds stakes in Coca-Cola, American Express, Dairy Queen restaurants and even the insurer Geico. Very established groups less sensitive to market fluctuations.