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 stark and growing divide between urban/suburban and rural districts was one big story in this year’s election results, with Democrats gaining seats in the House as a result of their success in suburban areas. The GOP tax law may have helped drive that trend, Yahoo Finance’s Brian Cheung notes.
The new tax law capped the amount of state and local tax deductions Americans can claim in their federal filings at $10,000. Congressional seats for nine of the top 25 districts where residents claim those SALT deductions were held by Republicans heading into Election Day. Six of the nine flipped to the Democrats in last week’s midterms.
Ten companies, including nine pharmaceutical giants, accounted for half of the health care industry's $50 billion in worldwide profits in the third quarter of 2018, according to an analysis by Axios’s Bob Herman. Drug companies generated 23 percent of the industry’s $636 billion in revenue — and 63 percent of the total profits. “Americans spend a lot more money on hospital and physician care than prescription drugs, but pharmaceutical companies pocket a lot more than other parts of the industry,” Herman writes.
Federal, state and local governments spent about $441 billion on infrastructure in 2017, with the money going toward highways, mass transit and rail, aviation, water transportation, water resources and water utilities. Measured as a percentage of GDP, total spending is a bit lower than it was 50 years ago. For more details, see this new report from the Congressional Budget Office.
The GOP tax cuts have provided a significant earnings boost for the big U.S. banks so far this year. Changes in the tax code “saved the nation’s six biggest banks $3.3 billion in the third quarter alone,” according to a Bloomberg report Thursday. The data is drawn from earnings reports from Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.