Warren Buffett’s Wealth Drops Despite Stock Market Rally This Year

  • Warren Buffett is the only member of the world’s top 10 billionaires to see his wealth decline this year.
  • Berkshire Hathaway shares have lagged the S&P 500’s 5% gain this month and the Nasdaq’s 10% jump.
  • Buffett’s company beat the market last year as investors braced for the worst.

Warren Buffett is the only one of the world’s 10 richest people to see his fortune shrink this year as his conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway is left out in the cold by the latest stock market rally.

Buffett’s net worth has fallen by $529 million to $107 billion since the start of January, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The decline reflects a nearly 1% decline in Berkshire’s share price this year, compared with a 5% gain for the benchmark S&P 500 and a 10% gain for the Nasdaq Composite.

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In contrast, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault’s fortune rose by $27 billion to $189 billion, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s fortune rose by $23 billion to $160 billion as of Monday’s market close. Their respective gains reflect a 14% rise in the luxury conglomerate’s stock and a 54% rise in the automaker’s stock this year.

Similarly, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ net worth jumped $17 billion to $124 billion, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates rounds out the top five with a slight gain of $2 billion to $111 billion. Amazon shares have jumped 17% this year, while Microsoft shares are up 1%.

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Oracle chairman Larry Ellison, Alphabet co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim also saw their fortunes rise as their sizable stakes in their companies rose in value.

Buffett’s rich list peers have profited on paper this year thanks to a positive market turn.

Investors dumped riskier stocks last year in response to a historic rise in inflation, a flurry of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and the looming threat of a U.S. economic recession. They appear to have regained their risk appetite this year as inflation appears to be cooling, fueling hopes of an early end to Fed rate hikes and a soft landing for the US economy.

Investors poured into Berkshire’s stock in 2022, sending its price up about 3%, even as the S&P 500 fell 19% and the Nasdaq plunged by one-third.

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Buffett’s company is widely considered a safe bet because it is cash-rich, profitable, highly diversified and conservatively managed. Additionally, Buffett has made some of his most lucrative investments during past market downturns and economic crises.

While Buffett is the single top billionaire in the red this year, he still ranks fifth in the index. That’s partly because Gautam Adani’s fortune shrank by $36 billion to $86 billion, pushing the Indian industrialist to 11th place on the list. Adani Group’s share price has fallen in recent days after short seller Hindenburg Research published a scathing report on the company.

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