Investment guru Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has been hit with its worst annual performance in 30 years with a 32pc fall.
However, the company still beat the 38pc tumble of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, the 14th year in 20 that Buffett outperformed the benchmark.
Just six of 1,591 US stock mutual funds with at least $250m (£174m) in assets made money for investors last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Mr Buffett, 78, poured money into stocks as prices fell and increased Berkshire's pace of deals as the contraction in credit markets hobbled buyout firms. He spent about $3.9bn on equities in the third quarter alone.
Berkshire announced 12 acquisitions in 2008, compared with eight in 2007, and also agreed to buy $8 billion in preferred shares from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and General Electric Co.
Prominent MPs are calling for the ban on short-selling of financial stocks to be extended by the City watchdog when it expires in two weeks' time, according to The Financial Times.
John McFall, chairman of the Treasury select committee, told the paper the situation had not improved sufficiently since the ban was imposed by the FSA on September 19.
"They would have to have very good reasons for lifting it, but at the moment with the credit situation and the banks the way they are I don't think conditions have changed," he said.
On Thursday, Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrats' Treasury spokesman, said that it was definitely too early to drop the ban altogether but it could be amended to apply only to banks.
Unemployment will soar above 3 million as Britain's manufacturers, retailers and service industries feel the full effects of the downturn, according to the British Chambers of Commerce.
It said economic output is set to fall this year by more than in the last recession of the 1990s, reports The Guardian.
The jobless count will rise to 3.1 million, or 10% of the workforce, the business group predicted.
It said the UK economy could shrink by as much as 2.9%, leaving the country to face the "distinct risk" of deflation this year.
The BCC's gloomy forecast was matched by analysis from Experian that predicted that up to 1,400 retailers would be forced out of business over the coming year.IFAonline
Two global vehicles
'Further plug advice gap'
Must appoint separate CEOs and boards
Advisers do come out well
Will report to Mark Till