NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks soared in early trading today, with the Nasdaq composite index surging more than 200 points, as a report of weakening in the tight labor market added to a belief that economic growth is slowing to a less inflationary pace.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 163.46, or 1.5 percent, at 10,815.66 in the opening minutes of trading. That added to the 129.87-point rise on Thursday, when government and private reports pointed to slower growth and raised hopes the Federal Reserve is nearing an end to a series of inflation-fighting interest rate increases.

The technology-focused Nasdaq composite index, which rose 5.3 percent Thursday on bargain-hunting, gained an additional 203.94, or 5.7 percent, in the early going to 3,786.44. On Tuesday, as tech stocks rallied Prices also rose sharply in the inflation-sensitive market for government bonds, pushing down open-market interest rates.

The cheering on Wall Street reflects relief that the Fed's six interest rate increases in less than a year finally appear to be having an impact on the economy and that few, if any, additional rate hikes are needed.

The news driving stocks higher today was a Labor Department report that the unemployment rate climbed back to 4.1 percent in May from the 30-year low of 3.9 percent in April. The jobless rate rose as American businesses lost 116,000 jobs, the worst showing in nearly nine years.

In addition to the weak jobs report, the Labor Department said that average hourly earnings rose just 0.1 percent in May, a sharp slowdown after a 0.4 percent increase in April.