* IMF says major differences’ remain with Greece
* May retail sales rise 1.2 pct vs est 1.1 pct
* Citrix jumps after investor sends letter
* Indexes up: Dow 0.3 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.1 pct (Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)
By Tanya Agrawal
June 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks came off session highs on Thursday after the International Monetary Fund quit bailout talks with Greece, saying ‘major differences’ remained over an agreement to save the country from bankruptcy.
The Dow Industrial average touched its highest in six trading days earlier in the session after data showed that retail sales surged in May, the latest sign that a recovery in the U.S. economy was finally gathering steam.
Talks between Greece and its lenders have been deadlocked over the country’s rejection of demands for reforms as conditions for releasing frozen bailout funds.
“There has been no progress in narrowing these differences recently, and thus we are well away from an agreement,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters.
U.S. retail sales increased 1.2 percent in May, topping the 1.1 percent growth expected by economists, as households boosted purchases of automobiles and a range of other goods even as they paid a bit more for gasoline.
Solid retail sales data followed robust job growth numbers and stabilizing manufacturing activity, suggesting the economy was gaining momentum after getting off to a slow start in the second quarter.
“I think the upward revisions in March and April are more important because they show that consumers are showing up and spending money,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
At 11:23 a.m. ET (1523 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 48.15 points, or 0.27 percent, at 18,048.55, the S&P 500 was up 3.59 points, or 0.17 percent, at 2,108.79 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 4.73 points, or 0.09 percent, at 5,081.41.
Eight of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with the utilities index’s 0.66 percent rise leading the gains.
The Fed has said it will raise rates only when it sees a rebound in the economy after growth came to a standstill in the first quarter.
Economists and top Wall Street banks expect the Fed to raise rates in September, which would be the central bank’s first hike in almost a decade and finally mark a turn in the direction of the flow of easy money that has driven world stocks and bond prices to record highs in recent years.
The World Bank on Wednesday joined the International Monetary Fund in urging the U.S. Federal Reserve to hold off on a rate hike until next year to avoid worsening exchange rate volatility and crimping global growth.
“It’s the U.S. Fed, not the world Fed, and they’re going to do what they think is right,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
The Fed will be keen to raise rates at least once this year before the U.S. presidential races heats up in 2016, she said.
Citrix Systems rose 7.1 percent to $70.72 after shareholder Elliott Management said the software maker should sell some units, cut costs and buy back shares.
Krispy Kreme soared 12.6 percent to $19.59 after the doughnut chain raised the bottom end of its 2016 profit forecast.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,671 to 1,225. On the Nasdaq, 1,335 issues fell and 1,236 rose.
Twenty five stocks on the S&P 500 index hit a 52-week high and two a 52-week low. The Nasdaq recorded 79 new highs and 16 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)