Recapping the day's news and newsmakers through the lens of CNBC.
Jobs report good enough to keep Fed taper on track
The news giveth and the news taketh away.
On Thursday, the markets were thrilled with the government's low unemployment numbers. Today, the government said, "But wait!" Job growth was a meager 162,000 in July, far below the 184,000 economists had expected. Whisperers on the Street had mentioned 200,000.
Fortunately, the disappointment wasn't bad enough to hammer stocks, which ended the last day of trading for the week in the green. That may be because the number was not off enough to add new uncertainty to the great tapering debate. Unemployment fell to 7.4 percent, a four-year low just below the 7.5 percent predicted. But that minor improvement was offset by a dip in the labor participation rate.
Separately, the Commerce Department said consumer spending had inched up 0.5 percent in June. Inflation was up 0.4 percent for the month, but only 1.3 percent over the past year. That's not enough to scare the Fed, which has a 2 percent target.
"The self-sustaining trend in employment growth is likely strong enough to allow the Federal Reserve to begin tapering its quantitative easing by the end of the year."
—Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis at The Conference Board
"Bottom line: Disappointment, but not enough disappointment to dissuade the Fed from ending QE."
—Steve Blitz, chief economist at ITG
"August data points will be decisive in ... whether the Federal Reserve tapers in September. My sense is that assuming Europe and China don't blow up, slow progress might be enough. ... Some central bankers seem to think the risks of maintaining the program outweigh the benefits."
—CNBC's Bob Pisani