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World’s richest man loses $15 billion in one day after LVMH stock rout

Bernard Arnault, the founder of LVMH, had US$11.2 billion wiped from his fortune in one day. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK - Bernard Arnault, the world’s richest person, had US$11.2 billion (S$15 billion) wiped from his fortune in one day over concerns that a softening US economy will dampen demand for luxury goods.

The founder of LVMH - whose offerings include Louis Vuitton handbags, Moet & Chandon Champagne and Christian Dior gowns - had seen his wealth balloon for most of 2023 as share prices of European luxury companies surged.

On Tuesday, he gave back some of those gains. LVMH shares fell 5 per cent in Paris - the most in more than a year - amid a broader decline that erased about US$30 billion from the European luxury sector.

Even with the sell-off, the French billionaire still has a net worth of US$191.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He’s added US$29.5 billion so far this year.

The gap between the fortunes of Mr Arnault and Tesla’s Elon Musk, the world’s second-richest person, has shrunk to just US$11.4 billion.

Tuesday’s rout came after a lengthy rally in LVMH’s share price, which is still up 23 per cent for the year. The MSCI Europe Textiles Apparel & Luxury Goods Index has surged 27 per cent.

Attendees at a luxury conference in Paris organised by Morgan Stanley flagged a “relatively more subdued” performance in the United States, according to Edouard Aubin, an analyst at the investment bank.

Deutsche Bank analysts Matt Garland and Adam Cochrane said in a note that they expect investors to become more selective with European luxury stocks, with slowing growth in the US a concern. BLOOMBERG