Stocks opened higher on Thursday after several top U.S. retail chains reported better-than-expected sales in June, and new claims for jobless benefits fell more than forecast.

* Energy shares led the way higher as oil rose above $75 a barrel, helped by a report showing a sharp fall in crude inventories in the Unites States. The S&P energy sector <.GSPE> gained more than 1 percent.

* The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 60.77 points, or 0.61 percent, to 10,079.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 6.91 points, or 0.65 percent, to 1,067.18. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> climbed 14.70 points, or 0.68 percent, to 2,174.17.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)