Stocks advanced on Thursday as oil and commodity prices rose and retail and jobs data boosted hopes of economic recovery.

Oil topped $72 per barrel, one day after settling at its highest level in seven months, boosting energy shares such as Chevron Corp , up 1.5 percent to $71.29. Rising commodity prices helped stocks like Alcoa Inc , up 2 percent to $11.70.

May retail sales rose 0.5 percent, but the rise was mostly due to higher gasoline prices. Excluding autos and gasoline sales, they were up 0.1 percent.

If you are seeing a pickup in the economy, that's going to be good for all these commodities. The more you produce, the more oil you are using, said Anthony Conroy, head trader, head trader for BNY ConvergEx, an affiliate of the Bank of New York, in New York.

A lot of people that missed the rally earlier are now saying, 'I've got to get in.' If you are looking at sectors that are doing well, financials continue to lead.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> added 67.79 points, or 0.78 percent, to 8,806.81. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 7.92 points, or 0.84 percent, to 947.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 14.00 points, or 0.76 percent, to 1,867.08.

Shares in banks moved higher after Goldman Sachs upgraded Regions Financial Corp , which was up 8.3 percent to $4.33, and Fifth Third Banc Corp , which was up 6.5 percent to $7.82. The KBW Bank index <.BKX> rose 2.6 percent.

Some investors fear that rising commodity prices combined with increasing interest rates on U.S. treasuries may hurt a recovery and spur a stock market correction. Investors will zero in on a 30-year bond auction at 1 p.m. EDT. On Nasdaq, big-cap techs advanced. Apple Inc was up 0.7 percent to 141.16 and among the top gainers.

The S&P 500 has jumped 39 percent since hitting a 12-year on March 9 but has tread water since early May as investors look for signs the economy is on the mend and mull the impact of rising interest rates and oil prices.

(Additional reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)