Thursday, January 10, 2008

Whitman, Zucaro Sweat Out Drop by Mortgage Insurers

Marty Whitman and Al Zucaro, stock pickers with a knack for buying low, may be dripping in sweat after they snapped up U.S. mortgage insurers that shed more than 40 percent of their value in the past three months.

MGIC Investment Corp., PMI Group Inc. and Radian Group Inc., the industry's three largest firms, had their worst year in 2007, declining as much as 78 percent. Whitman bought into the slump to become the largest stakeholder in Philadelphia- based Radian. Zucaro became the No. 1 investor in PMI of Walnut Creek, California, and the second-biggest for Milwaukee-based MGIC.

``We're just going to have to sweat it out for the next 18 or 24 months,'' said Zucaro, who runs Old Republic International Corp., parent of the industry's sixth-largest company.

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