Some very cool employment data today sent futures rocketing up into the green.

At 8:30 a.m. EDT, the

Labor Department

reported new nonfarm jobs created in May totaled 231,000, versus


consensus poll estimates of 386,000 and an average of 249,000 over the past 12 months. According to the

Census Bureau

, for the third month in a row, this jobs number was skewed sharply by the hiring of about 200,000 temporary workers to conduct the Census.

Wage growth came in at a 0.1% gain, versus


consensus estimates and last month's figure of a 0.4% gain. Unemployment for May hit a 4.1% gain, versus estimates of a 3.9% gain and the average workweek rolled in at 34.4 hours, versus expectations of 34.6 hours.

At 9:08 a.m. EDT, continued to climb, and the

S&P 500 futures were up 33.5 points, almost 32 points above fair value and a strong indication for the early going. The

Nasdaq 100

futures were locked at the limit up of 110 points, indicating some frenzied buying for large-cap tech stocks at the open.

The Treasury market was off highs hit just after the data came out but was still substantially stronger this morning, and the 10-year note was up 1 2/32 at 103 10/32 and yielding 6.042%.

Meanwhile, it was reported that another of

George Soros'

fund managers quit this morning. No other details were yet available.

Confidence has been growing all week as economic data rolled in, raising hopes that the economy may have finally slowed and fueling spectacular broad-based but relatively low volume rallies on Tuesday and Thursday.

Today's numbers reinforce what the market has seen so far this week and fuels optimism that the


won't be forced to be as aggressive with interest rates in what remains of the year.

"It looks like we're going to be pretty strong up on the open," said Jim Benning, a trader at

BT Brokerage


"People are think maybe the Fed is done, or that maybe he'll raise rates just another 25 basis points," he added.

On whether or not stocks are headed back toward mid-March heights, Benning said that would depend on whether or not this rally holds in the next few days.

"That depends on the durability of it. If we have a couple more good days, people will say we had a nasty correction and that's it. If the Fed has engineered a soft landing, you could very well see the market return to its highs in the next few months," he said.

Wall Street has been waiting for some real data since the Fed's May 16 meeting, when it raised rates by 50 basis points, and anxiety over the direction of the economy generated violent swings and record-breaking up and down action last week and early this week. Many market observers are expecting volatility to continue until the

Federal Open Market Committee

actually meets in mid-June.

Following the wave of cool data this week, some market observers were predicting that the Fed will avoid new rate increases at its mid-June meeting, while estimates of what Fed Chairman

Alan Greenspan

will tack on before the end of the year range from between 25 and 100 basis points.

The large European bourses were

charging higher at midsession. The Paris


was up 163.77, or 2.48%, to 6763.48, while Frankfurt's

Xetra Dax

was 58.77 higher, or 2.18%, or 7431.53.

Across the channel, London's FTSE was climbing 104.7, or 1.35%, to 7858.7.

The euro was trading up at $0.9444.


Asian markets got a boost overnight from Thursday's 5% rise in the Nasdaq, although Japanese investors did some profit-taking ahead of this morning's U.S. employment data.

Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng index closed up 342.91, or 2.30%, to 15,284.10.

In Japan, the Nikkei index closed up 105.76, or 0.63%, to 16,800.06.

In Tokyo currency trading, the dollar was barely changed against the yen, winning 108.735 yen by the close. The greenback was recently fetching 108.50.