The day after the market’s worst decline since the 1987 crash, the Dow rebounded, rising 9.25% despite the fact that President Trump declared coronavirus a national emergency in a Friday afternoon speech. But even with a rally before the market closed, many of the world’s richest people are still reeling from this week’s global selloff. The ten biggest billionaire losers have lost a whopping $76.4 billion combined over the past seven days, since markets closed on Friday March 6.
France’s Bernard Arnault lost the most this week, with his fortune dropping by $14 billion to $84.6 billion as of the market close on Friday, March 13. Just two months ago, Arnault was the richest person in the world (briefly), worth more than $100 billion. With lower demand from Chinese customers and shutdowns across major manufacturing regions in Italy, Arnault’s LVMH and its high-fashion peers are hurt by the coronavirus crisis. Fellow French billionaire François Pinault, honorary chairman of luxury goods rival Kering, which owns Saint Laurent and Gucci, is down $5.9 billion, with a $30.6 billion fortune. Leonardo del Vecchio, founder of eyewear giant Luxottica, is now worth $17.3 billion, a $4.9 billion drop this week. Luxottica is headquartered in Milan, which is under lockdown due to the spread of coronavirus in Italy.
The novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, has spread to every continent on earth except Antarctica, reaching more than 155,000 confirmed cases and 5,800 deaths.
The fast-fashion sector has also taken a blow as cautious consumers are wary of venturing to stores. Spain’s Amancio Ortega, the billionaire behind Zara’s parent company Inditex, took a $12.8 billion hit—the second-largest, behind Arnault. Ortega is now worth $57.5 billion.
L’Oréal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the world’s richest woman, stands at $48.3 billion after a $8.9 billion decrease. Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and CEO of the French beauty giant, said in a late-February interview with CNBC that he believes consumer demand will recover. “I remember in 2003 there was the SARS epidemic and then the MERS epidemic in 2015 and what we saw there was a drop obviously for a while,” he said on Squawk on the Street. “And after that, when consumers were back in stores, both in Asia and travel retail, consumption was even stronger, like a bounceback of consumption.”
Jeff Bezos is still the world’s richest person despite losing $6.4 billion, bringing his net worth down to $110.5 billion. Jefferies analyst Brent Thill argues the retail giant’s stock has been “unfairly punished” as the overall market has suffered. Thill noted that Amazon stands to benefit from consumers ordering essential items in bulk and shopping online in order to avoid going outside.
Elon Musk tweeted on Friday March 6 that “coronavirus panic is dumb.” In the week since, the virus and concern about it has spread markedly in the U.S., and his net worth has tanked by $5.5 billion, an 18% drop, amid a 22% slide in Tesla shares. Musk is now worth $31.1 billion. He is still seemingly not worried about the novel coronavirus, emailing SpaceX employees on Friday morning that they are more likely to die in a car accident than from COVID-19, according to Buzzfeed News.
Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas cut his Tesla price target from $500 to $480 on Thursday, estimating that its electric vehicle deliveries will drop by about 50,000 units to 452,000 units this year. “We believe it is reasonable to assume that sentiment and financial strength will likely in some way be impacted by the sharp correction in global markets as well as the concerns around public safety and interruption in personal mobility,” Jonas wrote in a research note.
If the stock market downturn continues, Musk risks losing his $346 million payday, which is tied to Tesla’s stock performance. Musk may think the panic is “dumb,” but so far investors don’t seem to agree.
Below is the complete list of the world’s 10 biggest billionaire losers this week:
Bernard Arnault & family
Source of wealth: LVMH
Net worth change from March 6 to March 13: -$14 billion
Source of wealth: Inditex
Net worth change: -$12.8 billion
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers & family
Source of wealth: L’Oréal
Net worth change: -$8.9 billion
Carlos Slim Helu & family
Source of wealth: America Movil
Net worth change: -$7 billion
Source of wealth: Amazon
Net worth change: -$6.4 billion
Source of wealth: Reliance Industries
Net worth change: -$6.1 billion
François Pinault & family
Source of wealth: Kering
Net worth change: -$5.9 billion
Source of wealth: Tesla
Net worth change: -$5.5 billion
Laurene Powell Jobs & family
Source of wealth: Apple
Net worth change: -$4.9 billion
Leonardo Del Vecchio & family
Source of wealth: Luxottica
Net worth change: -$4.9 billion