U.S. sales of fixed annuities increased to about $17 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007, up 4.1% from the total for the fourth quarter of 2006, according to Beacon Research Inc.

Researchers at Beacon, Evanston, Ill., have published those figures in a summary of results from a quarterly survey of 49 insurance companies.

Fourth-quarter sales of indexed annuities amounted to $6.3 billion, up 10% from the total for the fourth quarter of 2006.

Sales of market-value-adjusted annuities fell 20%, to about $2.1 billion; and sales of immediate annuities rose 28%, to $2.1 billion, Beacon reports.