Bernard Arnault, the richest person in the world, lost $11.2 billion of his wealth in one day due to fears that the soft US economy will dampen demand for luxury goods.
The founder of LVMH — whose offerings include Louis Vuitton handbags, Moet & Chandon Champagne and Christian Dior dresses — has seen his wealth swell for most of 2023 as shares of European luxury firms soar.
On Tuesday, he gave back some of those gains. Shares of LVMH fell 5% in Paris – the most in more than a year – amid a broader downturn that has wiped out about $30 billion from the European luxury sector.
Even with the sale, the French billionaire still has a net worth of $191.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. It’s added $29.5 billion so far this year.
The gap between the fortunes of Arnault and Elon Musk of Tesla Inc., the second richest person in the world, has narrowed to just $11.4 billion.
Tuesday’s rout followed a prolonged rally in LVMH’s share price, which is still up 23% for the year. The MSCI Europe Textiles, Apparel and Luxury Goods Index rose 27%.
Attendees at a luxury conference in Paris organized by Morgan Stanley noted “relatively more subdued” performance in the US, according to Edward Aubin, an analyst at the investment bank.
Deutsche Bank AG analysts Matt Garland and Adam Cochran said in a note that they expect investors to become more selective with European luxury stocks, as growth slows in the United States.
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