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Student lenders rose Friday on an otherwise quiet day for financial stocks, after Congress gave final approval to legislation that would lift limits on federally subsidized student loans.

Many private lenders had stopped making loans as the credit markets tightened, leaving students and parents with fewer options to finance higher-education costs. The legislation increases limits on how much borrowers can receive in federally subsidized student loans. Lenders like

Sallie Mae

(SLM) - Get SLM Corp Report

were jumping 7.1% to $21.39 and

First Marblehead


was climbing 6.3% to $4.04.

Student Loan

( STU) was rising slightly to 2.9% to $136.50.

Banking giant


(C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report

moved up 1.7% to $26.42 after it and partner

State Street

(STT) - Get State Street Corporation Report

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said they were selling employee benefits joint venture CitiStreet to

ING Group

(ING) - Get ING Groep NV Sponsored ADR Report

for $900 million in cash. State Street was down fractionally.


NYSE Financial Sector

index was flat at 7,934.19 in recent trading.

The biggest loser for the day was


( SWIM), which was plunging 31.4% after it disclosed that the Securities and Exchange Commission was looking into some of its business practices. The provider of investor education products said it was cooperating with the inquiry, but the bad news overshadowed the company's first-quarter profit. Shares were trading down $3.92 to $8.56.

Also down on an earnings report was

Odyssey Re Holdings


, which was dropping 3.9% to $35.68 after reporting first-quarter net investment income declined to $73 million, vs. $81 million in the year-ago quarter. Operating income was down as well.

Triad Guaranty


was losing 2.5% after it announced it was discussing the creation of a new mortgage insurance business. The bond insurer is exploring the idea with Lightyear Capital. However, investors showed their displeasure sending the stock down 6 cents to $2.32.