Warren Buffett is the only top-10 billionaire to become poorer this year after Berkshire Hathaway missed out on the stock market's rally

Warren Buffett.REUTERS/Rick Wilking

  • Warren Buffett is the sole member of the world’s top 10 billionaires to see his wealth drop this year.

  • Berkshire Hathaway stock is trailing the S&P 500’s 5% gain and the Nasdaq’s 10% jump this month.

  • Buffett’s company beat the market last year as investors braced for the worst.

Warren Buffett is the only one of the world’s 10 wealthiest people to see his fortune shrink this year, as his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate is left out in the cold by the stock market’s latest rally.

Buffett’s net worth has dropped by $529 million to $107 billion since the start of January, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The decline reflects an almost 1% dip in Berkshire’s stock price this year, compared with a 5% gain for the benchmark S&P 500 index and a 10% increase in the Nasdaq Composite.

In contrast, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault’s wealth has grown by $27 billion to $189 billion, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s fortune has rebounded by $23 billion to $160 billion as of Monday’s market close. Their respective gains reflect a 14% rise in the luxury conglomerate’s stock and a 54% surge in the automaker’s shares this year.

Similarly, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ net worth has jumped by $17 billion to $124 billion, and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates rounds out the top five with a modest $2 billion gain to $111 billion. Amazon stock has jumped 17% this year, while Microsoft stock has inched up 1%.

Oracle chairman Larry Ellison, Alphabet cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and Mexican telecoms mogul Carlos Slim have all seen their fortunes swell too, as their sizeable stakes in their companies have risen in value.

Buffett’s rich-list peers have made money on paper this year thanks to a positive turn in market sentiment.

Investors dumped riskier stocks last year in response to a historic spike in inflation, a flurry of interest-rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, and the looming threat of an economic recession in the US. They appear to have regained their risk appetites this year as inflation appears to be cooling, fanning hopes of an early end to the Fed’s rate hikes and a soft landing for the US economy.

Investors flocked to Berkshire stock in 2022, sending its stock price up about 3% even as the S&P 500 slumped 19% and the Nasdaq tumbled by one-third.

Buffett’s company is widely viewed as a safe bet because it’s cash-rich, profitable, hugely diversified, and managed conservatively. Moreover, Buffett has made some of his most lucrative investments during past market downturns and economic crises.

While Buffett is the only top-10 billionaire in the red this year, he’s still ranked fifth in the index. That’s partly because Gautam Adani’s fortune has shrunk by $36 billion to $86 billion, pushing the Indian industrialist down to number 11 in the rankings. Adani Group’s stock price has plunged in recent days after short-seller Hindenburg Research released an incendiary report on the company.

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