Dow surge brings incredible wealth for US super-rich
FROM ANDREW BUTCHER
IN NEW YORK
MILLIONS of Americans cheered as the Dow
Jones industrial average finished above 10,000
points for the first time. To the vast majority,
the climb from 9,000 just a year ago signified a
tidy boost to their savings.
For a few lucky Americans, however, the rise
has meant an accumulation of unbelievable
Take Bill Gates, Microsoft's co-founder and
chief executive. His personal wealth reached
$92 billion when the Dow finished
above 10,000 points this week. By the end of
the week, he was worth a further $1 billion.
That means that, for every hour of the past year
Mr Gates made about $4,566,000.
Michael Dell, who has built his computer
company into one of the most profitable in the
world, celebrated his 34th birthday in February.
Since his last birthday, his paper wealth roared
from $5.7 billion to just over $15 billion this
The $9 billion climb came despite a 30 per cent
fall in shares last October as the Asian crisis hit
shares and another fall recently amid concerns
over the prospects for computer sales.
Not all the rapidly increasing fortunes have been
among high-tech wizards. The widow and four
children of Sam Walton, who founded the chain
of Wal-Mart discount stores, watched as their
The family's stake in the 3,400-store chain lifted
in value from about $45 billion last April to $81
billion now. If they sold up and divided the
spoils, the children - all in their 50s - would get
more than $16 billion each. That would still
leave $16 billion for Mr Walton's widow, Helen.
A year ago, Jeff Bezos barely made it into the
billionaires' club, despite his 48 per cent stake in
the now-famous Internet book store,
Since then, Mr Bezos has aggressively built his
online retailer, which still makes huge losses,
into a giant Internet concern. After annual
growth of 1,038 per cent in Amazon.com's
shares, Mr Bezos was this week worth $13.2
billion on paper.
Mr Bezos beat America Online's founder, Steve
Case, to billionaire status but Mr Case's
company grew at a similar rate to Amazon.com
in the past year and is worth five times as much.
Mr Case, a former pizza-topping developer with
Pizza Hut, holds $2.4 billion worth of his
company's shares. His personal wealth has risen
from about $300 million last year.
At 29, one might think it was time for Jerry
Yang, officially titled Chief Yahoo at his
Internet search site company, to start getting
serious about his career. But, with a paper
fortune approaching $5 billion in Yahoo!, he can
afford to kid around as long as he likes. Yahoo's
value rose again this week as it paid $5.7 billion
for the Internet audio and video specialist,
Also riding the bull market in the technology
sector over the past year was one of the
industry's veterans, Larry Ellison, who founded
Oracle, the database software company, in
The 54-year-old's fortune rose from $6.6 billion
to $8.5 billion, although he was worth $13
billion just a few weeks ago. The fickle nature
of the booming stock market recently trimmed
Oracle's share price and stripped Mr Ellison of
billions in the process. *****************************************
My question is where did all the money come from? Why is this not inflation? Doug, at 36,000, just multiply the above numbers by 3.6 and remeber, it's tax free unless shares are sold. Meanwhile, minimum wage remains unchanged.
Doug Henwood wrote:
> Jordan Hayes wrote:
> >... of course this went to press before this week's spectacular rise
> >in AMZN to a closing price of 171 ... not so stupid afterall?
> Wow, that settles it!
> Holding my breath for 36,000,