Municipal market participants in recent weeks began showing a preference for the handful of bond insurers so far unscathed by subprime mortgage worries. The year-end rankings of insurers, however, only hint at how behavior changed during the final weeks of 2007, according to Thomson Financial.

Assured Guaranty Corp. and Radian Asset Assurance Inc. were the only insurers to change positions from 2006 to 2007, as Assured insured more than twice as much in total par to become the seventh-busiest insurer last year. During a year that saw a failed merger attempt between Radian and MGIC Investment Corp., the bond insurer lost market share and fell one spot to eighth in Thomson’s rankings.

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