Asian share markets gained for a second session on Wednesday as blockbuster results from tech bellweather Intel Corp seemed to augur well for the U.S. earnings season and for consumer demand globally.

Intel shares were up over 7 percent in after-hours trading, helping lift Nasdaq futures 2 percent and S&P 500 futures 0.9 percent.

The news stimulated appetite for risk, including leveraged trades in commodity-linked currencies like the Canadian and Australian dollars, while dimming the attraction of lower yielding safe havens like the yen and government bonds.

Base metals prices also gained, though crude oil was stuck around $60 dollar a barrel for a fifth straight session.

Japan's Nikkei <.N225> edged up 0.4 percent, while shares elsewhere across the region rose 1.1 percent <.MIAPJ0000PUS>.

Notably, South Korea's Kospi <.KS11> rose 2.2 percent helped by gains for chip makers Samsung Electronics <005930.KS> and Hynix <000660.KS>. The firms' shares rose 4.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

Australia's S&P ASX 200 share index <.AXJO> climbed 1.0 percent, having risen 3.5 percent on Tuesday in its biggest daily advance so far this year.

The Australian dollar likewise benefited from a return to risk, rising to a one-week high at $0.7950 and leaving behind Monday's $0.7700 low.

The yen was the major loser as a safe-haven, with the dollar reaching 93.50 yen from a 91.72 trough early in the week, while the euro firmed to 130.80 yen.

Banking major Goldman Sachs had got the ball rolling by reporting a 33 percent jump in quarterly earnings thanks to stellar trading profits, though its shares barely budged, having run-up ahead of the results.

But it was Intel's results after the bell that really got investors excited as the chip maker's earnings of 18 cents a share far surpassed forecasts of 8 cents. Its outlook also blew past forecasts, potentially signally stronger consumer demand for personal computers.

Investors and policymakers have been anxiously looking for signs of a pick up in U.S. demand, which is key to a solid global recovery.


Intel reported especially strong demand in Asia, bolstering hopes the region would recover even as most Western economies struggled.

Upbeat economic figures from Singapore and Australia had drawn attention on Tuesday, while a business survey from Canada also showed a marked improvement.

Retail sales figures from the United States were less encouraging, showing a 0.2 percent drop in June once volatile autos and higher petrol prices were stripped out.

Yet many analysts are sounding more optimistic on the global outlook thanks chiefly to growth in the developing world.

We are revising growth forecasts up virtually across the globe, wrote Michael Hartnett, Merrill Lynch's chief global equity strategist, in a note to clients.

The U.S. investment banks now sees world growth of 3.7 percent in 2010, with emerging markets up 5.5 percent and the developed world growing 2.2 percent.

The global recovery is likely to be slow and require sustained policy help, said Hartnett. But an inflection point in the global economy should encourage investors to rebalance their portfolios to reduce cash, and look for opportunities to increase equity exposure.

The improved mood curbed demand for safe-haven sovereign debt, prompting profit-taking on a month of gains. Yields on U.S. 10-year Treasury notes stood at 3.47 percent, up from a two-month low of 3.26 percent touched on Monday.

Japanese government bond futures fared somewhat better as investors bet the Bank of Japan would extend measures to support corporate finance at the end of its two-day policy meeting later on Wednesday.

News that Moody's had downgraded California, and its $72 billion of debt, seemed to have been well anticipated and had little immediate impact.

(Editing by Kim Coghill)