By Tom Ozimek
The 500 richest people in the world increased their wealth in 2019 by an additional $1.2 trillion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.
The world’s wealthiest now own $5.9 trillion worth of assets, so around 25 percent more than last year.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos caps the decade as the richest person on earth with a total net worth of $116 billion. His year-to-date asset growth was a relatively modest $8.75 billion, with some of the top billionaires growing their wealth by tens of billions in the past 12 months.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates came in second on the list of the world’s richest people, with a net worth of $113 billion. This represents an increase in Gates’ wealth so far this year of $23.1 billion.
French billionaire Bernard Arnault, head of the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) luxury goods empire, came in third with a fortune of $106 billion. His assets grew by $36.5 billion over the past 12 months, which is the greatest growth in wealth compared to any other billionaire on Bloomberg’s list.
The richest woman in the world, Julia Flescher Koch, rounded out the top 10 list in tenth spot, with an estimated net worth of $62.1 billion.
Billionaires Warn of Stock Market Dip if Democrat Beats Trump in 2020, Expert Agrees
A handful of billionaire investors have expressed concern that a successful Democrat bid for the White House in 2020 would spark a stock market meltdown, with some saying by as much as 40 percent.
Ray Dalio (worth $18.7 billion), Paul Tudor Jones (worth $5.1 billion), and Stanley Druckenmiller (worth $4.7 billion) are just a few of the market-movers fretting about stock indices falling should a Democrat end up in the Oval Office, particularly if it’s one of the far-left candidates.
Dalio estimated a drop of around 22 percent, Jones predicted 26 percent, while Druckenmiller said that a victory by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would pull the stock market down between 30 and 40 percent.
Kevin Muir, a veteran trader and author of the MacroTourist, a macroeconomics blog popular among professional investors, crunched the numbers being thrown around by the billionaires and discussed his findings with The Epoch Times.
“To some extent, the market is a discounting mechanism, and that is what would be going on behind the scenes,” Muir said, referring to a set of specific predictions that Jones made based on a model that incorporated odds from an elections market, such as PredictIt, where people bet on election results.
At last month’s Greenwich Economic Forum, Paul Tudor Jones made some shocking predictions about a hit to the stock market in the case of a Democrat win versus a market rally if President Donald Trump is reelected.
“We did this poll internally about where the S&P would trade if Elizabeth Warren became president. And then Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, etc., and then we took the election probabilities,” Jones said at the forum on Nov. 1.
“Our poll said that if Elizabeth Warren would become president, the S&P would trade around 2,250,” Jones added. “It’s at 3,050 now.”
The hedge fund founder said his model showed that a victory by Trump would send the S&P to 3,600.
Muir was more modest in his estimates: “In terms of the specifics, I think they’re probably a little too low, 2,250 sounds extreme to me. I think it’s just billionaires sounding all worried about it.”
“If we change the decline to a 20 percent bear market (2,454) and move Biden and Buttigieg to a 10 percent correction (2,760), we get a 3,741 balancing figure for Trump,” Muir said, discussing revisions to Jones’s Nov. 1 figures, when the S&P was at 3,050. Muir’s model gives a figure 141 points higher in case of a Trump win than Jones’s calculations. The market strategist said what may account for the difference is that he used a different election market as reference.
A calculation on Dec. 19, based on the model provided by Muir and assuming a 20 percent and 10 percent correction for Sanders/Warren and Biden/Buttigieg, respectively, would mean that a Trump win would boost to the S&P from its current 3,197 to 3,696.
Using Jones’s more radical assumptions of a 26 percent and 12 percent correction for Sanders/Warren and Biden/Buttigieg, respectively, a Trump win in 2020 would put the S&P at 3,826.
Muir suggested that Bloomberg, Clinton, and Yang would be stock market neutral, meaning their policies would arguably not have an appreciable impact on the index valuation.
‘Little Bit of a Dip … Then We Melt’
Muir said his main reservation with respect to his model is that he isn’t that confident in the accuracy of the market as a discounting mechanism.
He pointed to the fact that stocks rallied after Trump’s 2016 win, defying forecasts for a selloff, based on his campaign rhetoric of cracking down on trade imbalances. Similarly, the gloom markets expected after Bill Clinton’s 1992 victory failed to materialize as stocks soared as the tech bubble inflated.
“Sometimes markets can’t look that far forward,” Muir said. “It might be something that the market has not quite caught on to enough and you might make the argument that what Tudor is assuming is priced into the market is not actually priced in yet, and therefore we need to go lower as the market increases the probability that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren might win.”
“I can see a situation where if it was Warren or Sanders that won, you would have a market opening that was down, almost a crash, and then we rally from there.”
“And I can see a situation where the opposite occurs if it’s Biden or Buttigieg, and we have a little bit of a dip, where it doesn’t seem so bad, and then we melt for the next six months or a year.”
At the Greenwich Forum, Jones said that “as an investor, you have to have a view on the election because the outcomes are so extreme. I’ve never seen this kind of polarity in elections as we have now. And they always say, ‘It doesn’t make any difference who the president is, the markets rallied 53 percent at the time of the Democrats, 52 percent at the time [of the Republicans].’ But it does make a difference.”
“Ronald Reagan, when he became president, it was a huge difference to the stock market.”