The 40 richest people on Earth added a combined $29.5 billion to their collective net worth this week as global stocks soared.
The biggest gainer was Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His fortune soared $2.2 billion after shares of his Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding Co. rose 17.6 percent. The company announced plans to renovate the Four Seasons George V hotel in Paris.
“People took some heart from the seriousness of the central bankers in their efforts to come to grips with this period of very slow economic growth,” John Carey, who helps oversee about $220 billion at Pioneer Investment Management Inc., said in a telephone interview from his Boston office. “We’ll see what happens next.”
Stocks rallied during the week after Germany’s top constitutional court rejected efforts to block a permanent euro-area rescue fund, a 500 billion-euro ($655 billion) bailout facility, on Sept. 11. The market also surged when the Federal Reserve announced it would expand its holdings of long-term securities by buying $40 billion of mortgage debt a month, and said it would hold the federal funds rate near zero until at least the middle of 2015.
The S&P 500 gained 1.94 percent during the week to close at 1465.77 in New York, its highest level since December 2007. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 1.34 percent, closing at 275.95.
Carlos Slim, 72, remains the world’s richest person. Slim’s fortune rose $1.6 billion as shares of his Mexico City-based holding company Grupo Financiero Inbursa SAB leapt 2.65 percent. His net worth is $75.8 billion, the highest it’s been since the index started tracking the world’s wealthiest individuals in March.
The fortune of Bill Gates, 56, the world’s second-richest person, also reached a recent high. The Microsoft co-founder gained $1.2 billion after reports that the company may announce a 15 percent increase to its quarterly dividend later this month. Gates is worth $65.1 billion.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chairman Warren Buffett has a net worth of $47.5 billion. The 82-year-old said yesterday that he completed his last prostate-cancer radiation treatment. Buffett ranks fourth in the world. Berkshire shares rose 2.35 percent during the week.
Amancio Ortega, the 76-year-old founder of Zara clothing chain owner Inditex SA, remains Europe’s richest man, $1.5 billion ahead of Buffett. The Spaniard’s fortune rose $1.3 billion as shares of Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer, gained 0.4 percent.
In Europe, Ortega is ahead of Swedish billionaires Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of the IKEA furniture chain, and Stefan Persson, the chairman of clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB.
Asia’s richest man, 84-year-old Li Ka-Shing, ranks 13th on the index with a net worth of $26.8 billion. Shares of the billionaire’s Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. rose 5.65 percent in Hong Kong.
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 and is listed in U.S. dollars.