Title insurance giant First American Financial Corp., Santa Ana, Calif., posted net earnings of $47 million in the fourth quarter, just about flat compared to the same period a year earlier.

But for the full year, the firm earned $128 million, a 5% gain from 2009.

In a statement, company CEO Dennis Gilmore said First American is being positioned for a significantly lower mortgage origination market in 2011. It plans to maintain a conservative balance sheet, pursue organic growth and capitalize on strategic investments in its core business.

First American reported total revenue of $950 million in Q4, compared to $961 million in the year ago period. But its commercial title business showed a gain in revenues: $98 million compared to $58 million one year earlier.

FAF reported paid title claims of $78 million for 4Q and $314 million for the year, versus $79 million and $307 million, respectively, for the year ago periods. In Q4 the firm received 345,000 title orders, down from 365,500 in the fourth quarter 2009. During 2010, it received 1.46 million title orders versus 1.77 million the year prior.

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