HONG KONG - Asian markets were lifted Thursday by a strong lead from Wall Street after upbeat earnings reports and Ben Bernanke’s comments that the US Federal Reserve could step in to help the economy. Tokyo rose 0.75 percent by the break, Hong Kong jumped 1.40 percent, Sydney added 1.20 percent, Shanghai gained 0.44 percent and Seoul climbed 1.68 percent. Tech firms in Asia benefited from news that Intel, the world’s leading semiconductor maker, had posted better-than-expected earnings for the April-June quarter. Internet search giant Yahoo! posted above forecast results, while Bank of America said it had swung back into the black in the second quarter after posting a loss of almost $9 billion a year ago. The news lifted investor confidence on Wall Street. The Dow climbed 0.81 percent; the S&P 500 added 0.67 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 1.12 percent. Adding to sentiment was the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report, which said “overall economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace in June and early July”, offering reassurance amid worries about a recent run of disappointing data. Fed chairman Bernanke, testifying for a second day to Congress, reiterated that the economy was slowing and the central bank would act if warranted to boost growth.