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New daily index tracks net worth of top 20 billionaires

March 05, 2012|By Jim Puzzanghera
  • Carlos Slim, chairman emeritus of America Movil Sab de CV, which controls 70% of Mexico's mobile-phone business, chats with attendees following a news conference in Mexico City in January.
Carlos Slim, chairman emeritus of America Movil Sab de CV, which controls… (Susana Gonzalez / Bloomberg )

Reporting from Washington — Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim lost nearly $500 million over the weekend, but remains the world's richest person. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who ranks second, closed the gap a bit because he only lost about $100 million.

The daily financial gyrations of the net worth of the world's richest people now can be followed like stock prices or baseball standings, with the unveiling of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

"The index is a dynamic measure of the world’s wealthy based on changes in markets, the economy and Bloomberg reporting," the financial news company said. It will crunch the numbers every day using a complex formula, releasing the latest standings at 2:30 p.m. Pacific time each day.

The initial index was released Sunday, showing Slim at the top with a $68.5 billion net worth, down $478.4 million from the previous day. But don't cry for Slim -- his net worth is still up 11.2% for the year so far.

Gates came in second at $62.4 billion, down $100.2 million for the day but with an identical year-to-date increase.

Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett rounded out the top three with a net worth of $43.8 billion. But he's fallen off the pace of Slim and Gates, with just a 2.4% increase in his net worth this year. That leaves Buffet just barely holding off IKEA-owner Ingvar Kamprad, whose net worth has jumped 14.3% this year, to $42.5 billion.

Americans claimed nine of the top 20 spots on the index, which is a daily counterpart to Forbes' annual list of the richest people on the planet. Forbes' latest ranking, which came out about a year ago, had the same top three, but a lot of changes from there on down.

The best year so far among the world's top 20 billionaires on Bloomberg's list belonged to Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista, whose net worth has risen 32.4%, to $29.8 billion. That puts him at No. 10.

Batista has warned Slim that he planned to overtake him as the world's richest person, which Bloomberg calculated wouldn't happen until 2024. 

The list could get a new member when Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg cashes in on the company's initial public offering in the coming months. But Bloomberg estimated that he would just miss the cut, with his shares worth about $21 billion.

French cosmetics magnate Liliane Bettencourt is now in 20th place on the index with a net worth of $22.4 billion. But just like in baseball, the standings can change daily.

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