Total U.S. sales of fixed annuities fell to about $16.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006, down 1.1% from the total for the fourth quarter of 2005.

Sales for the full year fell 3.3%, to $71 billion, according to Beacon Research Inc., Evanston, Ill., which bases its figures on a survey of 48 insurance companies.

For the full-year, book value annuities accounted for $30 billion in fixed annuities sales; indexed annuities, $25 billion; market-value-adjusted annuities, $9.6 billion; and immediate annuities, $6.1 billion.

Sales of MVA annuities increased 73% from the 2005 sales total, but sales of the other types of annuities decreased, Beacon says.

“In fourth quarter and throughout 2006, fixed annuities generally had a hard time competing with bank certificates of deposit as well as [with] variable annuities with guarantees and other equity-based investments,” says Jeremy Alexander, chief executive of Beacon.