* 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 to board
* Indexes up: Dow 0.3 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.08 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Tanya Agrawal
June 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were higher in afternoon trading on Thursday, helped by strong retail sales data, but gains were limited by news that the International Monetary Fund had broken off debt talks with Greece.
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.
The IMF said its delegation had halted negotiations in Brussels and flown home because of major differences with Athens.
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 follow robust May job growth numbers and stabilizing manufacturing activity, suggesting the economy is 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 13:05 p.m. ET (1705 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 52.18 points, or 0.29 percent, at 18,052.58, the S&P 500 was up 4.56 points, or 0.22 percent, at 2,109.76 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 4.16 points, or 0.08 percent, at 5,080.85.
Eight of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with the teleservices index’s 0.46 percent rise leading the gains.
The Fed has said it will raise rates only when it sees a rebound in the economy, which came to a standstill in the first quarter.
Economists and top Wall Street banks expect the Fed to raise rates in September, in what could be the central bank’s first hike in almost a decade and turn 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.
Citrix Systems rose 7 percent to $70.59 after shareholder Elliott Management said the software maker should sell some units, cut costs and buy back shares.
Krispy Kreme soared 11 percent to $19.31 after the doughnut chain raised the bottom end of its 2016 profit forecast.
Hess rose 5.6 percent to $69.29 after the oil and natural gas producer said it would sell half of its Bakken midstream assets to a private equity firm for $2.68 billion.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,741 to 1,248. On the Nasdaq, 1,337 issues fell and 1,335 rose.
Twenty seven stocks on the S&P 500 index hit a 52-week high and two a 52-week low. The Nasdaq recorded 97 new highs and 19 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)