April was the best month since June 2004 for the traditional category of primary new insurance written by private mortgage insurers, according to data from the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America.The group consists of every MI firm with the exception of Radian, which pulled out of the association in September 2003 and is no longer counted in the data. Primary insurance written totaled $20.7 billion, down 22% from $26.6 billion in March. However, the traditional category increased from $15.9 billion to $17.4 billion. Back in June 2004, MICA members wrote $17.8 billion of traditional insurance. A research report on the numbers from Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co., Arlington, Va., commented, "We continue to foresee a worsening credit environment weighing on earnings growth. However, given the heightened attention on the state of the housing market, we believe investors have the credit environment well baked into the stocks' current valuations. If fact, given current expectations, we believe the MIs are more likely to surprise on the upside." The report said the cure/default ratio fell from 92.3% in March to 79.6% in April, with 34,347 new cures and 43,161 new defaults.

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