SYDNEY, AAP – Investors have made the strongest start to trade on the ASX in weeks after record closing highs for US markets.

The market was up more than one per cent on Wednesday as the heavyweight share categories of materials and financials flourished.

The big four banks were all at least one per cent higher. ANZ was best and rose a little more than two per cent to $28.41.

Fortescue Metals was best of the big miners. It climbed 2.65 per cent to $14.32.

The market surge comes despite the Reserve Bank a day earlier bringing forward its forecast for higher rates to 2023.

In the US, investors were pleased by company earnings and pushed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to record levels. The Dow Jones also closed up.

The US central bank is this week expected to scale back its $US120 billion ($A161 billion) monthly bond-buying program put in place to help the economy during the pandemic.

Investors will also be focused on commentary about interest rates and the recent surge in inflation.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was higher by 99.8 points, or 1.36 per cent, to 7424.1 at 1205 AEDT.

The All Ordinaries was up 98.1 points, or 1.28 per cent, to 7744.7.

AMP will exit the life insurance industry by selling its stake in Resolution Life Australasia.

Resolution Life Group will buy the almost 20 per cent stake for $524 million.

AMP last year sold the its life business to Resolution for $3 billion.

Shares were up more than seven per cent to $1.15.

Telstra has sealed a Department of Defence deal worth more than $1 billion which includes providing 5G mobile services.

The carrier confirmed it will continue providing network and telecommunications service to Defence staff through a five-year contract.

Shares were up half a per cent to $3.92.

Financial software vendor Praemium has a second consecutive day of big gains.

The company on Monday spurned a $785 million takeover offer from Netwealth.

The Praemium board is open to better offers.

Shares were up more than 10 per cent to $1.57.

Engineering services provider CIMIC improved after Thiess won a coal mine contact in Indonesia.

CIMIC owns 50 per cent of Thiess, which sealed a $220 million deal to continue working with Wahana.

Shares were up a quarter of a per cent to $19.68.

Packaging group Amcor pleased investors with its first quarter update.

The company improved sales and earnings despite customers around the world having supply chain problems.

Earnings were up six per cent on a constant currency basis.

Shares improved by 1.81 per cent to $16.28.

The Australian dollar was buying 74.37 US cents at 1205 AEDT, lower from 74.90 cents at Tuesday’s close.