The stock market has inched its way to one record high after another this year, with the S&P 500 gaining a solid if unspectacular 3.5 percent so far. That rise has enriched investors by some $900 billion in 2015, as Matt Krantz at USA Today points out.
As Krantz also notes, though, some shareholders have done far, far better than the broader market. Jeff Bezos, for example.
The Amazon CEO has benefitted from a 40 percent rise in his company’s stock in 2015, adding a whopping $9.5 billion in paper gains to his already sizable net worth to lift it to $38.2 billion, good enough for 11th highest in the world, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.
As well as Bezos has done, four foreign billionaires have actually made more in 2015: Pan Sutong, chairman of Hong Kong investment conglomerate Goldin Group, has made more than $20 billion; Wang Jianlin, the founder and chairman of another Chinese conglomerate, Dalian Wanda, has made $19.4 billion; Zhou Qunfei, China’s richest woman, has added nearly $11 billion; and Patrick Drahi, the French chairman and largest shareholder of Luxembourg-based telecom company Altice, has gained $9.7 billion.
Bezos may be far ahead of the U.S. pack, but the USA Today analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ shows some other CEOs of American companies have fared extremely well as a result of their stock holdings, too. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has made more than $1 billion on paper, while Google’s Larry Page has gained just under $1 billion. And as shares of drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance have surged more than 11 percent this year, acting CEO Stefano Pessina has profited to the tune of $645.6 million. The CEOs of salesforce.com, Under Armour, Starbucks, Mohawk Industries, Constellation Brands and Netflix have all seen paper gains of more than $260 million so far in 2015.
You can see USA Today’s full list here.
The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.
The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.
Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”
Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.
The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”
That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”