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Stock Market Today: July Jobs Number Satisfies All Sides


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 was looking for.

"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."

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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 S&P 500 was off just 0.11% to 1,928.62. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down a mere 0.22% to 16,526.06. The Nasdaq was also down 0.22% to 4,360.15. The VIX "fear gauge" retreated by 1.3% to 16.73.

All the indices finished negative for the month on Thursday, with the Dow in the red for the year and the VIX spiking more than 27% to 16.98 as mixed earnings reports, concerns about the health of the European economy and financial sector, and the wait for Friday's nonfarm payrolls report rocked the global markets.

On Argentina, strategists say many had already seen the second default in 13 years coming, and the event was largely already baked in before Thursday's plunge.

The broader market was also being buoyed by upbeat results from Tesla , consumer products giant Procter & Gamble and LinkedIn -- a relief after Thursday's round of tepid financial statements. Procter & Gamble was popping over 4% to $80.42 after beating quarterly earnings estimates by 4 cents at 95 cents a share. LinkedIn was surging more than 10% to $199.29 after exceeding second-quarter earnings estimates by 12 cents at 51 cents a share. Tesla was advancing 2.32% to $228.49 after booking earnings that surpassed expectations by 7 cents at 11 cents a share.

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Individual companies making the headlines Friday also include Iliad , T-Mobile , GoPro and Chrysler . Iliad, the French budget mobile-phone company, made a $15 billion bid to buy a 56.6% stake in T-Mobile. After a bonanza IPO on June 27, wearable camera-maker GoPro reported earnings that beat analyst revenue targets, but showed a loss of $19.8 million, or 24 cents per share, compared to last year's loss of $5.1 million, or 6 cents per share. But if one-time charges are excluded, the company showed a profit of $11.8 million. Shares were diving 10.46% to $42.95. Chevron was down about 1% to $127.86 after beating earnings expectations, offset by lower production volumes.