U.S. stocks inched higher on Wednesday, with the Dow industrials and the Nasdaq managing to squeak out 2009 closing highs, as investors shied away from making bold bets on equities with just one more day left in the year.

* Investors sold some of this year's biggest gainers to take profits, which offset the impact of a stronger-than-expected report on Midwest U.S. business activity.

* The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 3.10 points, or 0.03 percent, to end unofficially at 10,548.51. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up just 0.22 of a point, or 0.02 percent, to finish unofficially at 1,126.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 2.88 points, or 0.13 percent, to close unofficially at 2,291.28 -- marking a fresh closing high for the year, though it's up just 0.2 of a point from Monday's close.

(Reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; Editing by Jan Paschal)