Benchmark indices ended over half a per cent higher driven by gains in RIL, ICICI Bank, HDFC, ITC and Bajaj Finance. The S&P BSE Sensex ended at 36,636, up 194 points while the broader Nifty50 index settled at 11,053, up 66 points. Among sectoral indices, the Nifty Metal index ended 0.6 per cent higher with MOIL and National Aluminium Company being the top gainers. The Nifty Pharma index, too, settled nearly 1 per cent higher led by gains in Piramal Enterprises and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories. In the broader market, the S&P BSE MidCap index ended 68 points, or 0.46 per cent at 14,862, while the S&P BSE SmallCap index settled at 14,549, up 132 points, or 0.91 per cent. Shares of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL) surged 20 per cent to Rs 161 apiece on the BSE in early morning trade after the company informed the stock exchanges that an independent chartered accountant firm report said that the housing finance company has not promoted any of the 26 shell companies, which were alleged to have siphoned off about Rs 31,000 crore of the company by investigative news portal Cobrapost. Shares of ITC were up 2 per cent to Rs 289 apiece on Wednesday, extending its previous day’s 2 per cent gain, on reports that cigarette maker has increased the price of three brands - Bristol, Flake Excel and Capstan. Shares of Edelweiss Financial Services surged 12 per cent to Rs 173 apiece on the BSE in early morning trade, extending its previous day’s 10 per cent gain. Canadian pension fund manager CDPQ has signed an agreement to invest over Rs 1,800 crore (approximately US$250 million) in ECL Finance, the non-banking financial company (NBFC) arm of Edelweiss Group. The planned investment by CDPQ would contribute towards establishing a large and diversified credit platform in India. This proposed investment will close after customary regulatory approvals, the company said in a press release.