Fitch Ratings downgraded the financial-strength ratings of the U.S. mortgage insurance businesses at MGIC Investment Corp. and PMI Group to A-plus from 'AA', saying that 2007, "a year of rapid growth for a number of key" players, "will likely prove to be one of the worst underwriting years in the modern history of the U.S. mortgage industry."

The move last week came after Standard and Poor's April downgrades of the two insurers to below the 'AA' level that had been considered necessary to take on new business because of requirements by the government-sponsored enterprises that have recently been relaxed.

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