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Stocks stall on jobs report

While the markets have rallied sharply in the last three months, yesterday's news was more cold water.

NEW YORK - Stocks ended a volatile day yesterday little changed after the government reported a spike in the unemployment rate to 9.4 percent in May, the highest level in more than 25 years, even as the pace of layoffs eased more than expected.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 13 points at 8,763.13 - just 14 points below where it started the year.

Despite the troubling jobs data, the Dow and other major stock indexes finished the week higher. Although the Dow is still 38.1 percent below its October 2007 high, it has charged ahead 33.9 percent since hitting a 12-year low in early March.

The Dow rose 12.89, or 0.2 percent, to 8,763.13. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.37, or 0.3 percent, to 940.09, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 0.60, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,849.42.

Stocks have rallied sharply over the last three months as improving economic data and better performance at banks gives investors hope that the recession could end this year.

But the banking system is hardly on firm footing. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is pressing for a management shake-up at Citigroup Inc. The embattled bank has already received $45 billion in government rescue funds. Last month, the government determined that Citigroup would need to raise an additional $5.5 billion as a buffer against future losses.

Citigroup fell 11 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $3.46.

In other U.S. trading, the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 1.32, or 0.3 percent, to 530.36.

Japan's Nikkei stock average gained 1.0 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.2 percent, Germany's DAX index rose 0.2 percent, and France's CAC-40 rose 0.8 percent.