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World Richest Have Lost Over $1 Trillion In Stock

The old adage “the rich keep getting richer” no longer holds true. The rarefied world of the extravagantly wealthy has lately come under serious assault with the billionaires club seeing its fortunes rapidly shrink in the ongoing stock market rout. About ten days ago, South China Morning Post reported that the world’s 500 richest people had collectively lost $950 billion in the stock markets since the beginning of the year. 

The stock selloff has accelerated since then with the MSCI World Index--a market-cap-weighted stock market index of 1,644 stocks from companies across the globe--dropping another 320 points, or about 15 percent of its value. This implies losses by the billionaires have likely now crossed the $1 trillion mark. 

It also means the world now has only one centibillionaire, Jeff Bezos, after Bill Gates and the club’s latest entrant, Bernard Arnault, saw their fortunes slip below the $100-billion mark. Arnault, chairman of French luxury goods titan LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, became the world’s third centibillionaire after LVMH stock climbed Finance News nearly 40 percent in 2019. LVMH is down 27.7 percent in the year-to-date.

Warren Buffett was the biggest victim of the rout, with the Oracle of Omaha seeing his net worth drop by $9.6 billion to $66.4 billion after Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) Class A shares dropped 8.6 percent on Wednesday alone. BRK.A shares are down a whopping 25 percent in the year-to-date with the vehicle’s top holdings Delta Airlines (NYSE:DAL) and American Airlines (NYSE:AAL) down 63.5 percent and 63.8 percent YTD, respectively. 

Airline stocks have been particularly badly hit as governments everywhere urge citizens to keep travelling to a minimum while others have placed an outright ban on international travel.Press Release Distribution Many large U.S. airlines spent most of their free cash flow on share buybacks over the past decade in a bid to goose their earnings even as profits soared. Unfortunately, this left them exposed with many facing bankruptcy in lieu of a government bailout.

Facebook Inc.’s (NASDAQ:FB) Mark Zuckerberg has taken a $6.8 billion hit in the stock markets,  after FB stock dipped 27.1 percent YTD on concerns about lower ad revenues from retail, travel and recreation clients. 
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