UPDATE 1-First American Financial misses estimates

April 26 Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:47am EDT

April 26 (Reuters) - Title insurer First American Financial Corp's quarterly profit missed Wall Street expectations, as higher costs weighed on the company's results.

The company, one of the largest U.S. title insurers by revenue, posted a profit of $31.3 million for the first quarter, or 29 cents per share, compared with a loss of $15.3 million, or 15 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected the Santa Ana, California-based company to earn 32 cents per share for the quarter ended March 31, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Personnel costs increased 7 percent to $277.6 million.

Total revenue rose 4 percent to $966.8 million.

Fellow title insurer Stewart Information Services Corp posted a bigger quarterly loss, hurt by higher expenses.

Net loss rose to $12.2 million, or 63 cents a share, from $10.3 million, or 55 cents a share, a year ago.

Employee costs increased 9 percent to $128.2 million from the previous year.

Shares of the First American Financial closed at $17.52 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, while those of Stewart Information closed at $15.74.

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