Winners and Losers
Money can't buy happiness goes the old adage, but if it could Amancio Ortega would be floating on cloud nine.
Ortega is a relatively obscure 76-year-old retail magnate and founder of the Spanish company Inditex SA. Inditex owns and operates various clothing brands with over 5,402 stores around the globe; the crown jewel of Inditex is Zara, which has over 1,600 store locations.
Between January and October of 2012, Ortega earned more than $18 billion — that's around $66 million a day. During this short period he usurped Warren Buffett to become the third wealthiest person in the world with a net worth valued at $53.6 billion.
Ortega's rapid gain corresponds with a general rise in retail stocks. Cheap supplies and increasing demand for moderately priced clothing have made it a good year for retailers. Nine out of the world's 25 richest people made their fortunes in retail, according to the Bloomberg Index.
Physics tells us that what goes up must come down and unfortunately that's exactly what happened to some billionaires' fortunes this year.
Ricardo Salinas Pliego who runs Grupo Elektra in Mexico is the biggest loser on the list. Pliego lost $9.1 billion year-to-date. His net worth is now $11.7 billion, making him the eightieth richest person in the world. The banking and media tycoon has seen the value of his stock holdings nearly cut in half since April 2012.
Another famous loser is Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.
Before Facebook's IPO, Zuckerberg was estimated to be worth up to $20 billion. The social network's stock has underperformed since its May stock market debut Zuckerberg's net worth has dropped by $10.7 billion. But he's still the world's 88th richest person.
Bloomberg was able to uncover ten new billionaires who had never before been on an international wealth ranking.
Dirce Navarro de Camargo has become Brazil's wealthiest woman after inheriting her late husband's industrial empire, Camargo Correa SA. Camargo is the world's 60th richest person with a net worth of $13.1 billion.
Elaine Marshall owns a 15% stake in Koch Industries, with a net worth of $12.9 billion. She ranks as the 69th richest person in the world. Marshall, who is America's 4th richest woman, inherited the shares from her late husband, E. Pierce Marshall.
Marshall's last public appearance was in 1994 when her father-in-law's widow, Anna Nicole Smith, became entangled in a long legal battle over his trust. Marshall was ultimately granted his shares in Koch and now lives a quiet life in Dallas, Texas.
Learning From Billionaires
"Billionaires do not become billionaires by getting into a diversified mutual fund or investing in an ETF or investing in the S&P Index Fund," Miller tells The Daily Ticker. "You get rich by building equity in a very concentrated position that is typically one big company."
Most billionaires are also in the retail or commodity industries, he says. "Retail is a huge presence," Miller notes, adding that 26 billionaires on Bloomberg's list started their careers in retail.
Twenty-two billionaires on the list have made their fortunes in technology, and 14 are a part of a family business.
Overall, "it's been a great year for billionaires," Miller says. "If you look at the top 100 everyday, traditionally they've been up. The S&P is up for the year and private fortunes track public markets."
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