Nikkei rises ahead of BOJ meeting; Sharp, Nomura advance
* Nomura up after earnings supported by fixed income gains * Sharp up on report of panel alliance talks with U.S. firms By Dominic Lau TOKYO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average edged up on Tuesday ahead of a widely expected policy easing by the Bank of Japan later in the day, while brokerage Nomura Holdings climbed after its quarterly results were supported by fixed income gains. Nomura advanced 2.8 percent after it posted its fourth straight quarterly profit as an upswing in its fixed income operations helped it counter weak equity markets and the fallout from an insider trading probe. "Nomura's results weren't nearly as bad as expected ... So far a lot of the results that you have haven't been overly bad," a senior trader at a foreign brokerage said. "You also have the yen weakening...since the market opens, so there is probably somebody w ho i s t aki ng a bit of a p unt t hat the BOJ will do something." The Nikkei gained 0.5 percent to 8,974.87, breaking above its five-day moving average at 8,969.31, while the yen was quoted at 79.855 to the dollar, down from Monday's high of 79.53 yen. The BOJ is expected to expand its asset buying programme by 10 trillion yen ($125.3 billion), as slumping exports and factory output heighten pressure for bolder action to support an economy on the cusp of recession. The benchmark Nikkei has been buoyed over the past month by a softer yen amid expectations that the BOJ will ease monetary policy further. The index is up 6.2 percent this year. Sharp Corp surged 6.2 percent after the Kyodo news agency quoted sources as saying that the struggling TV maker had entered into talks with Apple Inc, Google Inc and Microsoft Corp to provide the three U.S. companies with its IGZO displays. It was the most-traded stock on the main board by turnover. Other gainers included Keyence Corp, which jumped 7.1 percent as analysts expected the maker of detection devices and measuring control equipment to post strong full-year earnings after it reported its first quarter results ended September. The broader Topix index added 0.5 percent to 743.48. Nevertheless, overall this quarterly earnings season has been weak so far, with 63 percent of the 27 Nikkei companies that have reported undershooting market expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. That compared with 54 percent in the previous quarter. Honda Motor Co slipped 0.4 percent, extending the previous session's 4.7 percent decline after it cut its full-year net profit forecast by a fifth. It was the second-most traded stock.