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Mortgage Insurance Industry Benefitting From a Steadily Improving Housing Market in 2013

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Mar 12, 2013) - Mortgage insurers have surged in 2013 as data supporting the U.S. housing market's recovery continues to roll in. Two separate reports were recently released showing improvements in U.S. home prices and sales. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the Mortgage Insurance Industry and provides equity research on Genworth Financial Inc. ( NYSE : GNW ) and Old Republic International Corporation ( NYSE : ORI ).

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The Commerce Department recent reported new-home sales in the U.S. surged to a 4 and 1/2 year high in January. New-home sales in January increased 16 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000. The value of homes in the 20 major cities tracked by the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index gained 0.9 percent in December, and have surged 6.8 percent in 2012, the largest annual gain in nearly six years. Seven of the 20 cities saw double digit gains in home prices, while New York was the only city where prices declined.

"There's no doubt when you look at all the housing data that's come out, it certainly paints a picture of continued improvement in that market," said Anthony Chan, chief economist at Chase Private Client.

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Shares of Genworth Financial rose 6.71 percent Monday on increased speculation that the company will benefit from the steadily improving U.S. housing market. "The resurgent U.S. mortgage market offers Genworth its best chance to grow," Barron's said in a recent article. "Investors think the shares, which still sell for less than half of book value, could be worth as much as $18 or more."

Old Republic International is an insurance holding company whose subsidiaries market, underwrite and provide risk management services for a wide variety of coverages, principally in the property and liability, mortgage guaranty and title insurance fields. The company has assets of approximately $16.2 billion and common shareholders' equity of nearly $3.6 billion or $14.03 per share.

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