U.S. stocks rose on Thursday as financial shares gained and encouraging data on jobless claims and business productivity offset disappointing May retail sales.

JPMorgan Chase & Co was the top boost on the Dow, up 3.1 percent to $35 after Citigroup raises its price target on the stock. The KBW bank index <.BKX> jumped 3.4 percent.

The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to 621,000 last week, showing the pace of the labor market deterioration eased, while non-farm productivity rose by 1.6 percent, much stronger than initially estimated in the first quarter.

As retailers reported May sales, investors sought evidence that consumers were spending again. But 63 percent of retailers posted same-store sales that fell short of Wall Street estimates, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters.

A little bit of optimism has been built into those (retail) stocks the past two weeks. That sector in particular had moved meaningfully higher, said Kevin Kruszenski, head of listed trading at KeyBanc Capital Markets in Cleveland. So some of the comps were worse than expected.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 44.03 points, or 0.51 percent, to 8,719.31. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 6.15 points, or 0.66 percent, to 937.91. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 11.37 points, or 0.62 percent, to 1,837.29.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc was among the top drags on the Dow, down 0.8 percent to $50.49. The world's largest retailer said it would add 22,000 jobs in its namesake U.S. stores in 2009, down from the 33,800 in namesake and Sam's Club stores last year. Wal-Mart no longer issues monthly sales data.

Costco Wholesale Corp shares slid 4 percent to $46.58 as one of the top weights on the Nasdaq. The warehouse club retailer said May same-store sales fell 7 percent, excluding fuel, but rose by 1 percent with fuel included. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a 6.4 percent decline.

The S&P retail index <.RLX> fell 2.1 percent.

Energy shares rose, with Chevron Corp up 1 percent to $68.85, after Goldman Sachs raised its end-of-2009 oil price forecast to $85 a barrel from $65 and introduced a new end-of-2010 outlook of $95, it said in a research note. The PHLX Oil Service Sector index <.OSX> rose 2.3 percent.

Intel Corp added 1 percent to $16.10 after the chipmaker said it will acquire Wind River Systems Inc , a software and operating systems maker, for about $884 million, or $11.50 per share, in cash as it attempts to strength its position in the embedded systems and mobile handheld devices space. Wind River shares surged 44 percent to $11.55.

Ciena Corp shares gained 7.4 percent to $11.79 despite reporting a quarterly loss and a bigger-than-expected drop in revenue.

Since reaching a bottom in early March, the Dow has gained 32.5 percent and the S&P has risen 38 percent.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; additional reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)