MGIC Investment Corp. reported second-quarter net income of $118.6 million, an improvement from the $109.2 million for the same period last year.

Total revenue was flat on a year-over-year basis, $263.3 million compared with $263.5 million one year prior.

Its earnings per share of $0.31 was "well ahead" of the FBR Capital Market's estimate of $0.24 and the consensus estimate of $0.25, said FBR analyst Randy Binner in a research note. "The beat versus our model came from lower-than-forecast losses, as the company saw a reserve release for the second quarter in a row."

MGIC's losses incurred during the quarter were $27.3 million compared to $46.6 million last year. There were fewer new delinquency notices received plus a lower claim rate when compared with the second quarter last year.

There was $12.9 billion of new insurance written, up 2.4% from the $12.6 billion for the second quarter of 2016. But this was slightly below Binner's estimate of $13 billion.

Persistency, which is defined as the percentage of insurance that remains in force from one year prior, was 77.8% as of June 30, up from 76.9% at the end of last year but down from 79.9% on June 30, 2016.

The year-over-over increase in NIW, plus the improved persistency resulted in a 5.5% growth in insurance-in-force to $187.3 billion, MGIC CEO Patrick Sinks said in a press release.

Going forward, insurance-in-force should continue to grow across the MI sector "driven by a steady purchase market and a continued recovery in the percentage of first-time buyers," said an earnings preview report issued before the MGIC announcement by Keefe, Bruyette and Woods analyst Bose George. Furthermore, Arch's acquisition of United Guaranty plus the uncertainty around whether China Oceanwide will complete the deal to buy Genworth Financial "should create room for market share growth for the other mortgage insurers," he continued.

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