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by CareyBot

Countrywide Financial today reported that its diluted earnings per share were up 69 percent in the fourth quarter, thanks in large part to increased mortgage loan production volume. Countrywide, the top U.S. mortgage lender by total volume for 2004, said fourth-quarter and 2005 net earnings were $639 million and $2.5 billion, respectively, compared with $370 million and $2.2 billion for the comparable periods in 2004. Earnings per share were $1.03 for the fourth quarter and $4.11 for the full year, Analysts, on average, had expected profit of $1.05 per share for Calabasas, Calif.-based Countrywide, according to a poll by Reuters Estimates. "For the fourth quarter and full year 2005, Countrywide achieved impressive earnings growth from the comparable prior-year periods, despite a challeng...