Royal Bank of Canada, the nation's biggest bank, said Friday that it will cut up to 6,000 jobs in the next two years.

It announced the job cuts as it reported that its fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose 11% on higher trading and underwriting revenue but that it had failed to meet its target of 4% to 7% annual growth in earnings per share. Chairman and chief executive John Cleghorn also said the bank failed to slow spending, which grew 9% in 1999, exceeding revenue growth of 7%.

Royal Bank said it spent more to expand its Internet banking subsidiary, Security First Network Bank, and its investment banking and brokerage services in the United States.

Mr. Cleghorn set an earnings per share growth target of 12% to 14% for fiscal 2000. He also wants to achieve a return on equity of 17% to 20% and an efficiency ratio, or costs as a percentage of revenues, of 59.5%. The bank's current ratio is 65.2%, excluding one-time revenue and expenses.

Royal Bank's annual return on equity was 16.6%, down from 18.5% in 1998.

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