Genworth profit boosted by lower U.S. mortgage insurance loss

Reuters

* Third-quarter net profit $108 mln vs $35 mln year earlier

* U.S. mortgage insurance loss $3 mln vs $37 mln last year

* Operating earnings 24 cents/shr vs est of 25 cents/shr

* Total revenue down 6 percent

Oct 29 (Reuters) - Life and mortgage insurer GenworthFinancial Inc reported its eighth straight quarterlyprofit as losses narrowed in its U.S. mortgage insurancebusiness due to a recovering housing market.

The U.S. mortgage insurance business reported a loss of $3million in the third quarter, much smaller than its loss of $37million a year earlier.

Genworth, which was spun off from industrial conglomerateGeneral Electric Co nine years ago, said it expects amarginal net loss in the fourth quarter in the U.S. mortgageinsurance business due to seasonality.

Mortgage insurers such as Genworth, Radian Group Inc and MGIC Investment Corp struggled to recoup lossesafter the housing bubble burst and foreclosures soared, leavingthem with large claims on unpaid home loans.

However, the companies that survived the crunch havebenefited in more recent times from a recovering U.S. housingmarket as low mortgage rates prompt more Americans to buy homes.

Genworth's net profit jumped to $108 million, or 22 centsper share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $35million, or 7 cents per share, a year earlier.

Total revenue, however, fell about 6 percent to $2.32million as both premium and investment income dipped.

On an operating basis, Genworth earned 24 cents per share,which was a cent below analysts' estimates, according to ThomsonReuters I/B/E/S.

Mortgage insurers cover losses when homeowners default andforeclosures fail to recoup costs. Typically, coverage isrequired when homeowners make a downpayment of less than 20percent on a property.

MGIC reported its second straight quarterly profit earlierthis month.

Shares of Genworth, which has a market value of more than $7billion, were down about 2 percent after the bell. They closedat $14.57 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

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