Santa Ana-based title insurer First American Corp. beat Wall Street expectations with its fourth-quarter profits but spooked some investors with cautious words about this year.
First American reported $117.5 million in profit for the quarter, about 8% higher than expectations. The company’s profits were up 67% from a year earlier.
Revenue jumped 22% to $2.2 billion in quarter.
Improved operating efficiencies, including sending data processing offshore, and acquisitions drove the growth, company officials said.
First American said it hopes to boost profits this year with more of the same.
The company doesn’t offer specific guidance but said business could be “slightly down” in the first quarter, said Gary Kermott, vice president of the company’s dominate title insurance business.
The title insurance market could be off by about 10% for the year, Kermott said.
The company provides title and specialty insurance, mortgage data and credit reports.
First American’s shares were off about 4% in midday trading on Thursday. The company counts a market value of about $4 billion.