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Australian market set for strong open

The Australian sharemarket is set to reach new highs for 2012 when it opens on Wednesday after a rally on world markets overnight.

A surprise improvement in investor confidence in Germany and reported progress in US budget negotiations fuelled strong gains on markets in Europe and on Wall Street.

At 0655 AEDT on Wednesday, the December share price index futures contract was up 19 points at 4,599, indicating a rise on the local market of about 0.4 per cent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed at its highest point for 2012 on Tuesday, gaining 18.1 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4,576.

The broader All Ordinaries index added 18.9 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 4,581.3, just shy of its highest point for the year.

In local economic news on Wednesday, Westpac and the Melbourne Institute release their latest survey of consumer sentiment.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics publishes lending finance data for October, and Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens is scheduled to speak at a Bank of Thailand function in Bangkok.

In company news, a hearing will be held in Victoria's Supreme Court to finalise National Australia Bank's settlement of a class action brought by shareholders.