World’s Wealthiest Drop $18 Billion on Weak Earnings Data

The 100 richest people on the planet dropped $17.7 billion from their collective net worth this week after disappointing corporate earnings in the U.S. were compounded by worries over economic growth.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), the world’s largest online retailer, lost $120 million. The Seattle-based company reported revenue that was less than analysts’ estimates and posted the first quarterly net loss since 2003. Bezos, 48, ranks 21st on the list with a net worth of $22.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

“It’s a better than feared type of situation,” said Herman Leung, an analyst at Susquehanna International Group, a Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based quantitative trading firm, in a telephone interview from his San Francisco office. “The eco- systems that all these companies play in have implications to everybody else.”

Lackluster earnings reports by Apple Inc. (AAPL) and DuPont Co. helped drag down the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index 1.48 percent for the week to close at 1411.94 in New York. The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that the economy is still growing modestly and unemployment remains elevated as it maintains $40 billion in monthly purchases of mortgage-backed securities aimed at spurring the three-year expansion.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 1.3 percent, closing at 270.51.

Slim, Ortega

Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim, 72, remains the richest person in the world, with a fortune of $75.6 billion, down $2 billion. Second is Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates, 56, with $62.5 billion.

Europe’s richest man, Amancio Ortega, is No. 3 on the index with a net worth of $52 billion, $5.6 billion ahead of Warren Buffett, 82. The 76-year-old founder of Inditex SA (ITX), the world’s biggest clothing retailer and owner of the Zara clothing chain, has gained more than $16 billion this year.

Viktor Vekselberg became Russia’s richest man on Tuesday after OAO Rosneft, Russia’s state-controlled oil and gas operator, agreed to pay $54.8 billion to acquire TNK-BP in the third-biggest oil acquisition ever. The 55-year-old Vekselberg is worth $17.9 billion, $900 million ahead of metals and technology investor Alisher Usmanov.

Central Park

Hedge fund manager John Paulson, 56, announced a $100 million gift to the Central Park Conservancy on Tuesday, the largest parks donation ever. In a letter sent on Oct. 4, Paulson told clients that his $20 billion firm, Paulson & Co., decreased its hedges, or offsetting trades, after the Fed outlined additional steps to boost the economy and the European Central Bank took measures to guard against a sovereign default. Paulson ranks 75th on the list with a net worth of $11.8 billion.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Facebook Inc. (FB), added $1.5 billion to his fortune after the world’s biggest social networking site reported sales of $1.26 billion, topping analysts’ average estimates of $1.23 billion. Facebook stock jumped 19.1 percent on Wednesday, pushing Zuckerberg up 21 places on the index, the biggest one-day move by any billionaire since Bloomberg began tracking the world’s richest people on March 5. The 28-year-old ranks 83rd with a net worth of $11.2 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. The valuations are listed in U.S. dollars.

To contact the reporter on this story: David De Jong in New York at ddejong3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew G. Miller at mmiller144@bloomberg.net

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