The S&P 500 rose on Wednesday to its highest level since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, led by bank stocks that have leapfrogged other sectors in December.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 26.33 points, or 0.23 percent, at 11,559.49, according to the latest available figures. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 4.22 points, or 0.34 percent, at 1,258.82. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 3.87 points, or 0.15 percent, at 2,671.48.

(Reporting by Angela Moon, Editing by Kenneth Barry)