The world’s 500 richest people lost $139 billion in Monday’s stock market rout

February 25, 2020, 3:55 AM UTC
Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos speaks after receiving the 2019 International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Excellence in Industry Award during the the 70th International Astronautical Congress at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC on October 22, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN—AFP via Getty Images

The world’s 500 richest people lost a combined $139 billion Monday as markets buckled amid fears that the coronavirus will hammer the global economy.

It’s the biggest wealth drop for the group since the Bloomberg Billionaires Index began tracking that figure in October 2016. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average each dropped more than 3% on the day, the most in more than two years, as authorities struggled to contain the virus.

Bernard Arnault, chairman of luxury-goods maker LVMH, and Inc. founder Jeff Bezos led the declines, with each losing more than $4.8 billion. Amancio Ortega, chief executive officer of Zara parent Inditex SA, tumbled $4 billion, and the fortunes of everyone else in the top 10 slid by at least $2.3 billion.

China, where the virus originated, makes up 40% of the global market for luxury goods. Paris-based LVMH increased its Asia share excluding Japan to 30% last year from 15% in 2002.

The market declines hit the stocks of cruise-line operators particularly hard, with Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. each dropping about 9%.

Carnival Chairman Micky Arison’s net worth fell $406 million to $10.6 billion. Hundreds of people who were aboard Carnival’s Diamond Princess in Japan tested positive for the virus.

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