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Warren Buffett's wealth soared $37 million a day in 2013

In the time it took billionaire businessman Warren Buffett to make this gesture, he probably made $500.
In the time it took billionaire businessman Warren Buffett to make this gesture, he probably made $500.REBECCA COOK / Reuters

Warren Buffett gained more wealth than any other U.S. billionaire, adding $37 million a day, according to one study.

Through Dec. 11, Buffett's net worth—at least on paper—shot up by $12.7 billion to $59.1 billion in 2013 from $46.4 billion at the start of the year, according to Wealth-X, the wealth research firm. That works out to a paper gain of $1.5 million an hour. 

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is still the richest man in America. But he was the No. 2 gainer in dollar terms this year, with his paper wealth soaring by $11.5 billion to $72.6 billion. Casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson was third, with an $11.4 billion gain to $35.3 billion.

The gains were fueled almost entirely by rising stock prices, which boosted the value of company shares held by founders and corporate chiefs. And the wealth was spread throughout all industries, suggesting that the broad stock market gains have been the chief wealth driver this year — rather than industry-specific gains in tech, energy or other sectors.

The top 10 billionaire gainers saw their wealth increase by a combined $101.8 billion—more than the GDPs of Puerto Rico or Slovakia.

Here is the full list.

Top billionaire gainers in 2013

  1. Warren Buffett—$12.7 billion gain to $59.1 billion
  2. Bill Gates—$11.5 billion gain to $72.6 billion
  3. Sheldon Adelson—$11.4 billion gain to $35.3 billion
  4. Jeff Bezos—$11.3 billion gain to $34.4 billion
  5. Mark Zuckerberg—$10.5 billion gain to $24.7 billion
  6. Masayoshi Son—$10.3 billion gain to $19.1 billion
  7. Sergey Brin—$9.3 billion gain to $30 billion
  8. Larry Page—$9.3 billion gain to $29.9 billion
  9. Lui Chee Woo—$8.3 billion gain to $19.6 billion
  10. Carl Icahn—$7.2 billion gain to $22.1 billion

—By CNBC's Robert Frank. Follow him on Twitter @robtfrank .

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