* U.S. job growth slows, unemployment ticks higher in April

* Apple announces record share buyback, stock jumps

* Expedia tumbles after cutting revenue growth forecast

* Indexes up: Dow 1.26%, S&P 1.34%, Nasdaq 2.08%

NEW YORK, May 3 (Reuters) - Wall Street rallied on Friday as a softer-than-expected employment report appeared to support the case for Federal Reserve policy easing while also providing evidence of U.S. economic resiliency.

All three major U.S. stock indexes were firmly in positive territory, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the pack with an assist from Apple shares following its share buyback announcement.

All three indexes were on track for their second straight Friday-to-Friday gains, capping a week in which markets were encouraged by Fed Chair Jerome Powell's more dovish-than-expected statements following Wednesday's rate decision by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

The CBOE Volatility index, often called the "fear index," touched its lowest level in over a month.

The Labor Department's employment report showed the U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected, while the unemployment rate ticked higher and wage growth unexpectedly cooled.

The report likely hit the sweet spot for the Fed, offering signs the labor market is softening, which Powell has deemed necessary to put inflation on a sustainable downward path. The report also provided assurances on U.S. economic health.

The report prompted investors to raise bets that the Fed would implement its first rate reduction in September.

"This report is not too hot not too cold and it's just what the Fed wants to see," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York. "We need more evidence but if we continue on this path it could change the timing of an interest rate cut, and it could mean instead of one, we might be looking at two rate cuts this year."

Fed officials weighed in on the data.

Fed Governor Michelle Bowman reiterated her willingness to hike rates if inflation progress reverses, and Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee said the employment report boosted confidence the economy is not overheating.

First-quarter earnings season is approaching the final stretch, with 397 of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported as of Friday morning. Of those, 77% have posted consensus-beating results, according to LSEG data.

Apple surged 7.2%, after the iPhone maker unveiled a record $110 billion share buyback program and beat quarterly expectations.

Shares of biotech firm Amgen jumped 11.9% after encouraging interim data on its experimental weight-loss drug MariTide and first-quarter earnings.

Travel platform Expedia cut its full-year revenue growth forecast, sending its shares sliding 14.5%.

At 2:08PM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 483.09 points, or 1.26%, to 38,708.75, the S&P 500 gained 68.07 points, or 1.34%, to 5,132.27 and the Nasdaq Composite added 329.53 points, or 2.08%, to 16,170.49.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but energy were in positive territory, with technology boasting the heftiest percentage gain.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.56-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.11-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 18 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 89 new highs and 53 new lows.

(Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additonal reporting by Shristi Achar A and Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio)