With Angelique Ruzicka

Most people will be glad to see the back of 2008. The FTSE 100 suffered its worst year ever with a 32% slump in value.

Last January it stood at a healthy 6,372.90, the FTSE 250 at 10,183.90 and the FTSE All-Share at 3,232.76.

But the credit crisis, falling house prices and mayhem in banking in the past year have ensured that listed companies have lost value. The FTSE 100 now sits at 4,579.64, the FTSE 250 at 6,745.17 and the All-Share at 2,288.04.

It’s a gloomy start to 2009 but for those trying to look on the bright side the share price of some blue chip firms – and this includes some insurance stocks – has never been so cheap.

If, however, you believe shares will go down further, especially in the financial sector, hold on for just a while longer: the FSA is lifting the shorting ban next week and you could benefit.

Insurance stocks are off to a tentative start this year, with no large drops or rises on the LSE. On AIM, though, Tawa experienced the most significant drop. Its share price fell by 12.82% to 32p.