Not even legendary investors can escape this mess. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway posted its worst year ever in 2008, the Wall Street Journal reports. A key indicator, book value per share, fell 9.6%, only the second loss since Buffett took control of the company in 1965. Berkshire reported fourth-quarter income of $117 million, 96% less than the $2.9 billion it made in the same period in 2007.
In his annual letter to shareholders, Buffett acknowledged that he “did some dumb things,” but was optimistic about the future performance of investments, particularly an apparently bad bet on ConocoPhillips. “Odds are good that oil sells far higher in the future than the current $40 to $50 price. But so far I have been dead wrong.”