Stocks opened higher on Thursday as investors anticipated results of stress tests to show that most banks are healthier than previously thought.

* Surprisingly strong April sales from major retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc , also helped underpin investor optimism.

* Among bank stocks, JPMorgan rose 3 percent to $38.27, while Citigroup climbed nearly 11 percent to $4.28.

* The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 61.33 points, or 0.72 percent, at 8,573.61. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 9.54 points, or 1.04 percent, at 929.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 11.84 points, or 0.67 percent, at 1,770.94.

(Reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)