The world's 500 richest people lost 35 billion dollars on Wednesday when U.S. stocks fell sharply in late-afternoon trading as investors fretted that the latest turmoil in Washington could hinder President Donald Trump's pro-business agenda.
According to a piece published in Bloomberg, the richest person on earth, Bill Gates lost a billion dollars as Microsoft's shares tumbled 2.8 percent. Two other billionaires, Jeff Bezos of Amazon lost 1.7 billion, and Spanish retailing giant Amancio Ortega lost 355 million dollars.
The steep drop in U.S. stocks, which sent the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 300 points, ended an unusually long period of calm in the markets. Financial stocks, which had soared in the months since the election, slumped the most as bond yields declined and traders piled into utilities, gold and other traditional safe-haven assets.
Banks, which soared in the months since the election, slumped. Bank of America lost 5.9 percent.
Bonds, utilities and gold rose as traders shunned riskier assets. The dollar fell.
The Standard & Poor's 500 dropped 43 points, or 1.8 percent, to 2,357.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 372 points, or 1.8 percent, to 20,606. The Nasdaq fell 158 points, or 2.6 percent, to 6,011, a day after its latest record high.