Ben Woodhead Deputy editor - digital

Ben Woodhead is deputy editor - digital at the Financial Review Group. He writes on business, technology, politics and the economy and can be found on BRW, The Australian Financial Review and Smart Investor.

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Wealthy lose billions as markets tumble

Published 04 June 2012 04:54, Updated 07 June 2012 04:12

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Wealthy lose billions as markets tumble

Money troubles ... World’s richest man Carlos Slim Helu gave up over $US1 billion in wealth on Friday when poor US job figures put Wall Street in a tailspin. Photo: Reuters

Financial markets have played havoc with the wealth of the world’s richest men and women, wiping billions of dollars in value of the holdings off entrepreneurs including Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu.

According to Forbes,tumbling sharemarkets US and European sharemarkets on Friday delivered a hefty blow to the wallets of many of the world’s wealthiest, including Slim, casino CEO Sheldon Adelson and Continental Resources boss Harold Hamm.

Others, such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg took heavy hits largely independently of the broader market action, while the Oracle of Omaha Warren Buffett finished the week ahead.

Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires monitor pegged the biggest losers from Friday’s market tumult as Slim (down $US1.39 billion), Las Vegas Sands CEO Adelson (down $US1.38 billion), Zuckerberg (down $US927.45 million), Hamm (down $US784.78 million) and H&M chairman Stefan Persson ($US580.17 million).

Such was the day’s trading that the biggest winners featured a number of high-flyers whose wealth took a tumble.

The biggest winner was Buffett (up $US348.25 million), New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov (up $US48.5 million), KKR co-chief Henry Kravis (down $US867.09 million), Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman (down $US37.11 million) and eBay chairman Pierre Omidyar (down $US47.76 million).

Forbes calculated the rises and falls on single stocks on the New York Stock Exchange held by its five winners and losers, including Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Slim’s America Movil.

In the US on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 277.73 points to close the session down 2.24 per cent at 12,116.22. The broader S&P 500 fell 32.40 points, or 2.47 per cent to 1277.93, while the tech-laden Nasdaq plunged 79.86 points, or 2.82 per cent, at 2747.48.

The sharp slides in US financial markets were precipitated by poor labour market figures for May, which showed just 69,000 jobs created against predictions that the economy would crate 150,000 new jobs. April unemployed edged higher to 8.2 per cent, defying predictions it would stay steady with March’s 8.1 per cent unemployment rate.

“We are not seeing any hiring in the upper end of business in the US,” AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson told an investor conference in New York on Friday. “People aren’t hiring a lot in the US.”

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