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by CareyBot

Stewart Information Services Corp. on Friday reported its 2006 earnings were down significantly from 2005 despite strong performance in the fourth quarter. Net earnings for 2006 fell to $43.3 million, down 51 percent from $88.8 million in 2005. Earnings per share totaled $2.36 for the year, compared with $4.86 in 2005. Revenues for 2006, however, set a record at $2.5 billion, the company reported, up 1.7 percent from 2005. Despite the growth, the increased revenue from acquisitions, new agencies, commercial transactions and international operations was "substantially offset by a decline in transaction volume handled by the company's direct operations in certain major markets of the country" along with rising interest rates. "Our growing commercial and international operations significantly...