World’s Richest Add $29 Billion as Dow Hits All-Time High

The 100 wealthiest people on the planet added $28.7 billion to their collective net worth this week after the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged to a record, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

“Even today, despite the snowstorm, the market is trending higher,” John Carey, a fund manager with Boston-based Pioneer Investment Management Inc., said in a telephone interview. His firm oversees $200 billion. “Keep in mind, the market isn’t all that strong relative to where it was at the beginning of the century in terms of multiples, earnings momentum and popularity of stocks.”

The week’s biggest gainer was Japanese retail tycoon Tadashi Yanai. The billionaire added $2.8 billion to his fortune as shares of his Fast Retailing Co., the largest clothing retailer in Asia, jumped 24 percent and hit an all-time high yesterday as domestic sales rose 9.6 percent last month. The 64-year-old ranks 48th in the world with a net worth of $16.3 billion.

The Dow closed yesterday at 14397.07, its highest level since May 1896, as U.S. employment rose 236,000 last month, according to Department of Labor figures. The jobless rate dropped to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008, from 7.9 percent. About $10 trillion has been restored to U.S. equities in the past four years as retailers, banks and manufacturers led the recovery from the worst bear market since the 1930s.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 2.2 percent during the week to close at 1,551.18 in New York. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 2.3 percent, closing at 295.55.

Slim Falters

Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim, 73, remains the richest person in the world, with a fortune of $72.9 billion, up $1.7 billion for the week. Slim’s No. 1 position is in jeopardy. His lead over the second-wealthiest man, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, 57, has narrowed to $5.7 billion. He led by as much as $14.5 billion in January.

The weak performance of his European telecommunications investments, combined with lawmakers’ plans for a proposal to create more competition for his Mexico City-based America Movil SAB, has caused Slim to lose $6.5 billion since Feb. 1.

Amancio Ortega, the 76-year-old founder of Inditex SA, the world’s biggest clothing retailer and owner of the Zara clothing chain, is No. 3 with a net worth of $58.3 billion, $2.9 billion ahead of Warren Buffett, 82.

Esteves, Batista

Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, 56, signed an agreement this week with Grupo BTG Pactual’s Andre Esteves, 44, to co-run a strategic and financial management committee for his six publicly traded companies to stop a decline in his commodities and energy companies that wiped out $25 billion of his wealth.

Batista’s EBX Group Co. said the so-called strategic cooperation agreement includes future investments in projects. He ranks 104th on the index with a net worth of $10.5 billion. BTG provided EBX with a $1 billion line of credit as part of the deal, said a person with direct knowledge of the accord. Esteves has a net worth of $5 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 and listed in U.S. dollars.

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