Stewart Information 4Q Earnings Higher

February 20, 2007

Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) -- Stewart Information Services Corp., which provides title insurance and related information services, said Friday its fourth-quarter profit rose 18 percent, as the company set aside less money to cover potential losses in its title business.

Quarterly earnings increased to $10.7 million, or 59 cents per share, from $9.1 million, or 50 cents per share during the same period in 2005. Revenue grew 3 percent to $645.8 million from $629.1.

The company said its earnings reflect the addition of $4.3 million to title loss reserves, or $6.2 million less than the same period a year earlier. That move offset a higher complement of lower-margin agency business compared to direct operations.

Stewart Information Services said its revenue boost came from greater commercial transactions and income from new agencies, which partially offset a decline in its direct operations as higher interest rates continued to depress the real estate market.

Annual earnings fell 51 percent to $43.3 million, or $2.36 per share, from $88.8 million, or $4.86 per share in 2005. Revenue rose 2 percent to $2.47 billion from $2.43 billion.

Copyright 2007 Associated Press

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