RTTNews - Canadian stocks finished lower for the first time in five sessions, backing off of an eight-month low. Financials saw sharp weakness to lead the decliners.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 253.56 points or 2.3% to close at 10,793.37. The index reached an eight-month high yesterday.

Financials fell 5.6% on the day. Manulife (MFC.TO) plummeted 14.8% after the company cut its dividend to preserve capital. The company also announced second quarter earnings of C$1.09 a share, compared to $0.66 a year earlier.

Sun Life (SLF.TO) dropped 12.3% as the insurer said it expects third quarter earnings to fall C$450 million to C$550 million.

Mining stocks ended down 3.6%. First Quantum (FM.TO) dropped 8%, Teck Resources (TCK.B.TO) declined 6% and FNX Mining (FNX.TO) fell 2.9%.

Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO) rallied 7.2% after it reported second-quarter net income was US$43.5 million or US$0.08 per share compared with a loss of US$108.4 million or US$0.28 per share in the comparable period.

Healthcare stocks rallied 8.3% on the day. Biovail Corporation (BVF.TO) rose 3.3% after the company reported net income of $24.09 million or $0.15 per share, compared with a loss of $25.29 million or $0.16 per share in the same quarter last year. lion or $0.16 per share in the same quarter last year.

BCE (BCE.TO) rose a little more than a half-percent after the company reported for the second quarter net earnings applicable to common shares of C$346 million or C$0.45 per share, compared to net earnings of C$361 million or C$0.45 per share for the same period last year.

Stantec (STN.TO) fell 2% after the company said its second-quarter net income increased to C$22.3 million or C$0.49 per share from C$22.1 million or C$0.48 per share in the prior year period.

Thomson Reuters (TRI.TO) advanced 3.4% after the company reported second-quarter operating profit of US$475 million, compared to US$254 million in the same quarter of last year.

WestJet (WJA.TO) has gained 3.4% after the company reported second-quarter net earnings of C$9.15 million or C$0.07 per share, compared to C$26.84 million or C$0.21 per share in the same quarter of last year.

Roctest Ltd (RTT.TO) fell 3% after the company reported second quarter net earnings of C$0.26 million or C$0.05 per share, compared to C$0.13 million or C$0.02 per share in the prior year quarter.

Iamgold Corp. (IMG.TO) advanced 5.7% after reporting net earnings of US$44.1 million or US$0.12 per share, compared to US$33.2 million or US$0.11 per share for the prior year period.

Canadian employment data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday. A decline in jobs of 20,000 jobs is expected for the month of July, compared to a decline of 7,400 last month. The unemployment rate is expected to rise to 8.8%, from 8.6%.

The U.S. Labor Department's jobs report is also scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. ET. Non-farm payrolls are predicted to fall 328,000 for July, compared to a drop of 467,000 in June. The unemployment rate is expected to rise to 9.6%, compared to 9.5% a month ago.

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