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updated: 8/11/2012 2:25 PM

World's richest gain $7 billion as Buffett reclaims 3rd place

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  • Pocket change for the world's richest billionaires, a sheet of $100,000 bills is on display Wednesday at the World's Fair of Money, in Philadelphia.

    Pocket change for the world's richest billionaires, a sheet of $100,000 bills is on display Wednesday at the World's Fair of Money, in Philadelphia.

Associated Press

The 40 richest people on the planet added $7.2 billion to their collective net worth this week as Warren Buffett and Amancio Ortega dueled for the title of world's third-richest person.

Ortega, 76, bumped Buffett, 81, from the No. 3 spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index on Aug. 6, after shares of Inditex SA, the world's largest clothing retailer, surged 3.8 percent in a day. The company's stock fell 1.8 percent yesterday, dropping him again below the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chairman.

Buffett is now worth $45.5 billion, according to the index. Ortega has a $44.8 billion fortune, up $9.5 billion this year.

"We're treading water. It was a pretty flat market this week," Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Harris Private Bank in Chicago, which oversees about $60 billion of assets, said in a phone interview. "Draghi kept his mouth closed and most of the other leaders are in their bathing suits some place."

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose for a sixth day Friday, the longest rally since 2010, amid speculation the Federal Reserve will pursue more stimulus measures. Treasuries rose and commodities fell as Chinese and French data added to signs the global economy is slowing.

The S&P 500 added 1.07 percent during the week to close at 1405.87 in New York. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 1.62 percent, closing at 269.88.

Carlos Slim, 72, remains the world's richest person. Slim's fortune fell $993 million during the week. Wireless sales in Brazil, the second-fastest growth market for the Mexican billionaire's America Movil SAB, have become a drag on profit as the economy slows. He now has a net worth of $74 billion.

Bill Gates, 56, is $10.4 billion behind Slim. Shares of Microsoft Corp., the world's biggest software maker, were unchanged for the week.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index takes measure of the world's wealthiest people based on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day at 5:30 p.m. in New York and listed in U.S. dollars.

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