Stocks rose on Thursday as oil and other commodity prices climbed while retail sales and weekly jobless claims data raised hopes for an economic recovery.

Oil topped $72 per barrel, one day after settling at its highest level in seven months, lifting energy shares such as Chevron Corp , up 1.7 percent at $71.40, and . Rising commodity prices helped stocks like aluminum company and Dow component Alcoa Inc , up 3.2 percent at $11.87.

May retail sales rose 0.5 percent, but the gain 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 for BNY ConvergEx, a Bank of New York affiliate, 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 73.08 points, or 0.84 percent, to 8,812.10. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 9.06 points, or 0.96 percent, to 948.21. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 13.56 points, or 0.73 percent, to 1,866.64.

Weekly initial jobless claims fell to 601,000, which was better than expected, suggesting improvement in the U.S. labor market.

Banks' stocks advanced after Goldman Sachs upgraded Regions Financial Corp , up 7.5 percent at $4.30, and Fifth Third Banc Corp , up 5.2 percent at $7.72. The KBW Bank index <.BKX> rose 2.7 percent.

Some investors fear that rising commodity prices, combined with increasing U.S. Treasury bond yields, 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 gained. Apple Inc was up 0.7 percent at $141.23 and topped the major advancers in the Nasdaq 100 <.NDX>.

The S&P 500 has jumped 40.1 percent since hitting a 12-year closing low on March 9. But the broad stock market has treaded 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 Jan Paschal)