Fidelity National Financial Inc , the No.1 U.S. title insurer, posted a quarterly profit below analysts' estimates, hurt by lower revenue from title premiums.
The company, however, raised its quarterly cash dividend by 20 percent to 18 cents a share.
This quarter was a typical seasonally impacted beginning to the year, as we started slow in January coming out of the holiday season, Chairman William P. Foley said.
The company said it eliminated nearly 600 positions during the first quarter.
For the quarter, net income attributable to shareholders was $16.5 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $12.4 million, or 6 cents a share last year.
Revenue fell 10 percent to $1.21 billion.
Analysts on average were looking for a profit of 12 cents a share, excluding items, on revenue of $1.29 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Total title premiums fell 16 percent to $765.2 million.
Title insurance guarantees that property owners have title to property and can legally transfer that title. Many lenders require that buyers have the insurance before extending loans.
Shares of the Jacksonville, Florida-based company closed at $15.50 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Abhinav Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal)