U.S. stocks rose for a third day in a row on Thursday as investors were cheered by a drop in applications for unemployment benefits and solid sales from a handful of large retailers.

Based on the latest available figures, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 120.71 points, or 1.20 percent, to 10,138.99. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 9.97 points, or 0.94 percent, to 1,070.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 15.93 points, or 0.74 percent, to 2,175.40.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, Editing by Kenneth Barry)