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Old Republic 2Q Earnings Fall

July 31, 2007

Associated Press

Old Republic International Corp., an insurance company, said Thursday its second-quarter earnings fell 9 percent, mostly on rising claims in its mortgage guaranty division and falling volume in its title insurance unit.

Old Republic second-quarter earnings fell to $115.1 million, or 49 cents per share, from $126.6 million, or 54 cents per share, during the same quarter a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial, on average, forecast earnings of 45 cents per share for the quarter.

Despite 13-percent year-over-year growth to $125 million in mortgage guaranty premiums written, the division's operating income shrank 42 percent to $36.8 million because of rising claims. Old Republic's mortgage guaranty division was hit by a growing number of claims related to defaulting loans.

Slowing home sales was the culprit as Old Republic's title insurance business saw a decline in profits. The company's title insurance business reported operating income of $3.6 million, down from $12.1 million during the same quarter a year ago.

Shares of Old Republic fell 58 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $19.33 in afternoon trading. Shares hit a new 52-week low of $18.95 earlier in the day. Old Republic shares had traded between $19.72 and $23.74.

Coopyright 2007 Associated Press

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