MBIA Inc. posted a net loss to shareholders in the fourth quarter, but gains from insured credit derivatives helped its net income rise for the year despite continued losses in the mortgage market.

The holding company posted a net loss of $242 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, a much narrower loss than the $1.2 billion it shed in the fourth quarter of 2008. The primary culprit in the quarter continued to be exposures to second-lien mortgage loan securitizations, which set the company back $661 million in pre-tax losses.

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