U.S. stocks ended higher on Wednesday, pushing the Dow average to a fresh 15-month closing high, as investors bought financial and technology shares, and Merck & Co benefited from a brokerage upgrade.

Based on the latest available data, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 53.66 points, or 0.50 percent, to end at 10,680.92. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 9.47 points, or 0.83 percent, at 1,145.69. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 25.59 points, or 1.12 percent, at 2,307.90.

(Editing by Kenneth Barry)