NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock markets returned to calm Friday as risk-off sentiment evaporated on a jobs number that was not too cold and not too hot. It was the "Goldilocks" number that market strategists such as Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Asset Management Group, were looking for to restore some certainty to the markets.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by 209,000 in July, which was slightly lower than the average 233,000 estimate expected by economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters. However, it still marks the sixth consecutive month of growth exceeding 200,000. It was solid number that was not strong enough to trigger short-term concerns of expedited Federal Reserve rate hiking, and certainly not weak enough to signal economic vulnerabilities. The June number was upwardly revised to 298,000 from 288,000. The markets were now baking in less Fed tightening, offsetting Wednesday's stronger-than-expected GDP rebound.
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"In the intermediate term, a stronger economy and more jobs is certainly better for stocks," said Stone. "As long as geopolitical concerns don't intrude, yields should move higher on a better payrolls number."
The S&P 500