An analyst for Zacks Equity Research, Chicago, says difficult times will continue for the private mortgage insurance industry until 2008.Neena Mishra said the current valuations on the publicly traded companies in the sector already price in to a great extent the bad news in the housing market and the companies' resulting higher losses. "Further, many of these companies have operations outside of the U.S.," Ms. Mishra said. "[Walnut Creek, Calif.-based] PMI Group, for example, derives 40% of its earnings from international operations and other diversified activities. However, we will continue to remain cautious on this segment till there is greater visibility on the U.S. mortgage default situation in the near to intermediate term." Zacks can be found online at http://www.zacks.com.

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