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 contributed to our results in 2006 and we're very proud of our accomplishments in these areas," said Malcolm S. Morris, chairman and co-chief executive officer, in a statement. "Commercial revenues h...
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