Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway suffered its worst return against the stock market for a decade in 2009 - a year which saw indices around the world rally.
Berkshire Hathaway was up just 2.7% on the New York Stock Exchange in 2009; its worst performance since plunging 20% in 1999.
Its $26bn takeover of railroad group Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp has been cited as one reason for Berkshire's poor showing.
The company's worse-than-expected performance came during a year in which US stock markets made ground with the country leading the global economic recovery after the Obama administration's stimulus packages. The S&P 500 index rallied 25% since the start of the year.
The Sage of Omaha has historically outperformed the index - beating it in 15 of the last 22 years.
Buffett, who has chaired Berkshire for more than four decades, is widely acclaimed to be the world's best investor, whose stock selections have fuelled the Nebraska-based company's 30-fold increase in 20 years.
Berkshire's profits plunged by more than half in 2008 but this was after reporting profits of $13.2bn in 2007. Some analysts expect Berkshire's annual profits to return to growth this year.
In November of last year, it emerged Berkshire owned stakes in Nestle and Exxon Mobil, in addition to doubling its stake in Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer.
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