The richest people got even richer in 2013, adding $524 billion to their collective net worth, according to a ranking of the world's 300 wealthiest individuals.
The aggregate net worth of the world's top billionaires stood at $3.7 trillion at the market close Dec. 31, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The biggest gains came in the technology industry, which soared 28% during the year. Of the 300 people who appeared on the final ranking of 2013, only 70 registered a net loss for the 12-month period.
Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft Corp., was the year's biggest . The tycoon's fortune increased $15.8 billion to $78.5 billion, according to the index, as shares of Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, rose 40%.
Gates recaptured the title of world's richest person May 16 from Mexican investor Carlos Slim. Gates' fortune has also benefited from a rally in stock holdings that include the Canadian National Railway Co. and sanitizing-products maker Ecolab Inc., which rose 34% and 45%, respectively.
Most of Gates' assets are held in Cascade, an entity through which he owns stakes in about three dozen and several closely held businesses, including Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and Corbis Corp., a photo-archive company. Less than a quarter of Gates' fortune is held in Microsoft. He has donated $28 billion to the Bill & .
Sheldon Adelson, founder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world's largest casino company, was the second-biggest gainer in 2013, adding $14.4 billion to his net worth as the company's shares rose 71%.
Slim lost $1.4 billion during 2013. His America Movil, the largest mobile-phone operator in the Americas, dropped 12% in the first three months of the year after Mexico's Congress passed a bill to quash the billionaire's market dominance. The company finished the year up 2% after a planned expansion into Europe was reined in, reassuring
investors who were leery about the billions of dollars in investment the strategy would require.