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America’s Ten Richest People Are $28 Billion Richer As Election Bolsters Big Tech Prospects

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Even with the presidential election in flux, the U.S. stock market—led by a rally in tech shares—jumped on Wednesday, helping America’s ten richest people add billions of dollars to their fortunes.

Both Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden claimed they would win the race, despite several battleground states still not called, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. 

Despite the uncertainty, markets surged on Wednesday, with shares of major tech companies like Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft leading the rally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 400 points, or 1.3%, as of market close on Wednesday, while the S&P 500 was up 2.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite soared 3.9%.

Some experts on Wall Street attributed the strength in tech stocks to the potential for a split Congress—as it looks less and less likely that Democrats will be able to win back control of the Senate. Although Democrats retained control of the House, Republicans won key Senate races in Iowa and Montana, according to NBC News.

With tech shares soaring, America’s ten richest people—including Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg—subsequently gained a combined $28.2 billion in net worth as markets moved higher.

Leading the way was the world’s richest person, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, whose net worth rose by $10.5 billion, to $190.6 billion. Amazon stock was up 6.3% on Wednesday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gained $8 billion as Facebook shares rose 8.3%. The world’s fourth richest person, he now has a net worth of $105.5 billion.

Bill Gates, the world’s third-richest person, saw his fortune rise $663 million—pushing his net worth up to $115.9 billion. Gates, who cofounded Microsoft in 1975, has sold or given away much of his stake in the company—but still owns an estimated 1% of shares, which rose nearly 5% on Wednesday. 

Another former Microsoft executive, Steve Ballmer, gained $2.8 billion, with his net worth moving up to $73.5 billion amid the market rally. He owns an estimated 3.5% stake in Microsoft.

Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin saw their fortunes rise $4 billion and $3.8 billion, respectively, as Google’s stock jumped over 6%. Both are major shareholders of Google-parent company Alphabet; Page is worth $77 billion while Brin is worth $74.9 billion.

Among America’s ten richest people, four saw a drop in their fortunes on Wednesday. Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s net worth fell by about $560 million as shares of his electric vehicle maker were down 0.7%. He owns a 21% stake in the company and is now worth $93.1 billion.

Renowned investor Warren Buffett also saw his fortune drop slightly. His investing conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, saw its stock fall by 0.4%, shaving $215 million off of Buffett’s net worth, which now stands at $78 billion.

Larry Ellison, cofounder and chief technology officer of software giant Oracle, lost $391 million, lowering his net worth to $75.1 billion. Ellison owns about 35% of Oracle’s stock, which was down 0.6% on Wednesday.

Walmart heiress Alice Walton, meanwhile, saw her fortune fall $309 million as Walmart’s stock lost 0.6%, giving her a net worth of $66.6 billion.

-By Sergei Klebnikov, Forbes Staff

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