February 29 (UPI) — U.S. stocks plunged for days this week, according tomedia reports, leaving most investors in a loss and a sharp loss to billionaires with huge fortunes. As the outbreak of the new coronavirus pneumonia continues to expand, the combined wealth of the world’s 500 richest people evaporated by $444 billion this week.
Over the past five days, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has plunged more than 12 per cent, its biggest weekly decline since the 2008 financial crisis, wiping more than $6 trillion off the value of global stock markets.
From the start of the year to this week, the world’s 500 richest people combined to earn $78bn, far less than the $444bn loss, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The world’s top three richest people, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, suffered the most. Together, the trio’s wealth has evaporated by about $30 billion.
In the past week, The fourth-largest loss of wealth has been achieved by Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors, at a cost of $9 billion. However, its wealth will still increase by $8.8 billion in 2020, with net assets of $36.3 billion. Musk is the world’s 25th richest man.
About 80 percent of billionaires are losing money this year in Bloomberg’s wealth rankings. Micky Arison, chairman of US-based Carnival Corp, has lost $1bn in fortunes in the past week. The Diamond Princess cruise ship, owned by the world’s largest cruise operator, has been quarantined since it arrived in Yokohama, Japan, on February 3, carrying 3,500 passengers and crew, hundreds of whom tested positive for coronavirus infection, including at least dozens of Americans.