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Title insurers take hit on HW 30

Refinance nosedive plays a huge role and Radian fares the worst

Title insurers may be yet another component of the housing market that is being impacted by the drop-off in refinance activity — and their stocks will prove it.

When taking a look at the HW 30 index — HousingWire’s exclusive index of stocks impacting the housing economy — it’s evident that title insurers have taken a hit upon Wednesday’s terrible refinance application report.

Reaching its lowest level since April 2010, the refinance share of mortgage activity dropped to 57% of total applications from 61% the previous week.

Sliding alongside mortgage volumes are the title insurers on the HW 30 index. First American Finance (FAF) saw a steep decline on Wednesday, ending the day down 1.64%. The title insurer has faced some struggles the past six months — down 9.91% on a six-month basis. Over the past three months, the stocks are down 3.35% on the HW 30 index, while the stocks dropped 0.59% over the last month. First American Finance opened the day at $22.17 per share and ended the day at $21.90.

Fidelity National Finance (FNF) also took a tumble, though to a lesser extent, falling 0.48% for the day. Over the past month, Fidelity is up 0.28%; however, the company is down 2.63% over the past three months, which would be more reflective of the impact of tapering refinance activity. Fidelity's stock opened Wednesday at $24.84 per share, with the official closing price at $24.76.

Stewart Information Services (STC) fell 1.57% on the HW 30 index on Wednesday and was down 2.08% over the past month. The past month hasn’t been so positive for the company’s stocks, which are down 2.08% on the HW 30 index. Yet surprisingly, the three-month period saw strong improvement, up 9.40%. Stewart opened the day at $31.01 per share and closed the day at $30.60.

Radian Group (RDN) took the biggest hit on Wednesday, down 1.72% for the day. However, for the month, Radian is up 0.22%. Radian opened Wednesday at $13.92 and closed the day at $13.74.

Alfred King, a spokesman for Genworth Mortgage Insurance, believes mortgage insurers are safe on the stock market. “This may be an issue for title insurers, but not one for mortgage insurers,” King told HousingWire.

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