But not everyone has lost out. Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest person, is $5.5bn (£4.3bn) richer today than he was at the start of the year. His paper fortune, held mostly in Amazon shares, rose by $3.9bn on Thursday alone to $120bn – enough to buy 188,000 standard gold bars (even taking into account the soaring price of gold).
Bezos benefited this week from the best three-day stock market rally since 1933 helping Amazon’s share price to recover almost all of its losses this month to trade at about $1,920, though that was slightly down on their peak of $2,170 in February.Other US executives that have been either lucky or smart by selling large chunks of their shareholdings in February include Larry Fink, the chief executive of fund manager BlackRock, who saved potential losses of $9m.
Lance Uggla, CEO of data firm IHS Markit, who sold $47m of shares on 19 February that would have dropped to $19m if he had held on to them.
In total US executives sold about $9.2bn in shares of the companies they run in the five weeks before the start of the stock market rout. Selling before the 30% collapse in the market saved them from paper loses of $1.9bn.