Radian Group Inc., the Philadelphia-based parent of municipal bond insurer Radian Asset Assurance Inc., yesterday reported a smaller fourth-quarter 2009 net loss than anticipated, pushing its stock higher.

Radian Asset has not written any new insurance since September 2008 but it “continues to provide capital support” to the mortgage arm, Radian Guaranty Inc., an earnings press release said. In October, it transferred $143 million of contingency reserves to Radian Guaranty, which helped the company’s risk-to-capital ratio decline to 15.4-to-one, compared to the prior quarter’s 16.1-to-one ratio.

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