NEW YORK - Even billionaire Bill Gates may be feeling the pinch these days.

The value of Gates' investments fell by $3 billion, or almost 20 percent, in the fourth quarter as the worst financial crisis in decades and a deepening recession hammered stock prices.

The investments of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation fell 19 percent to $9.07 billion, while those of Cascade Investment LLC, Gates' investment firm, fell 18 percent to $4.02 billion, according to regulatory filings on Tuesday.

The foundation increased its stake in McDonald's Corp , the world's largest hamburger chain, to 6.4 million shares as of December 31 from 4.9 million shares as of September 30, according to the filings.

The foundation increased its stake in Coca Cola Co to 5.7 million shares from 2.7 million shares, and in auto dealership group Autonation Inc to 10.2 million shares from 7.7 million shares.

It shed stakes in troubled financial companies American International Group and Washington Mutual.

The foundation took a one-million-share stake in Coca Cola Enterprises Inc , the largest Coca-Cola bottler, and cut its stake in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc .

Cascade took a 7.95 million-share stake in Eastman Kodak Co and a 3 million-share stake in shoe maker Crocs .

(Reporting by Juan Lagorio, editing by John Wallace)