* 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 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.2 pct (Updates to late afternoon)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
June 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks climbed late Thursday afternoon as retail sales data lifted the outlook for consumer spending and as health care shares gained.
Shares of Eli Lilly rose 4.3 percent to $86.77, a day after it said one of its drugs met main goals in two pivotal Phase III studies. The S&P 500 health care index was up 0.7 percent, among the day’s best-performing sectors.
S&P utilities gained 0.8 percent as U.S. bond yields retreated. Utilities and other top dividend payers tend to compete with bonds for investment money.
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.
“The bond market seemed to stabilize, and bargain hunters have come in,” to boost stocks, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.
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. The S&P retail index was up 0.3 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 60.92 points, or 0.34 percent, to 18,061.32, the S&P 500 gained 5.78 points, or 0.27 percent, to 2,110.98 and the Nasdaq Composite added 7.62 points, or 0.15 percent, to 5,084.31.
Caution over Greece remained. 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 International Monetary Fund said its delegation had halted negotiations in Brussels and flown home because of major differences with Athens.
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 declining ones on the NYSE by 1,837 to 1,202, for a 1.53-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,411 issues rose and 1,336 fell for a 1.06-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 31 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 115 new highs and 20 new lows. (Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Meredith Mazzilli)