This year will be a challenging one for mortgage insurance companies, analysts said, but there were no major surprises from the four that reported fourth-quarter results last week.

All four firms-PMI Group Inc., CMAC Investment Corp., Amerin Corp., and Triad Guaranty Inc.-hit analysts' estimates of earnings per share within 1 cent. Net income growth for the year ranged from 11% for PMI, San Francisco, to 54% for Triad, Winston-Salem, N.C.

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