* Nikkei adds 0.1 pct, Topix slips 0.3 pct * Softer yen aides some exporters; BOJ expected to ease next week * Kansai Electric Power sags on report of cutting dividend By Dominic Lau TOKYO, Oct 23 Japan's Nikkei share average inched higher on Tuesday, as gains in some exporters on the back of a softer yen offset weakness in the utility sector after a report said Kansai Electric Power would not pay its dividend. By the midday break, the Nikkei added 0.1 percent to 9,017.83 after rising as much as 9,075.58 to a four-week high earlier in the session. The index had risen for a sixth straight session on Monday, and if it finishes the day higher, it will extend its winning streak to seven sessions and mark its longest such run since July 2011. "There is no doubt that the market is now getting focused on what the BOJ would do ... political pressure on the BOJ is mounting," said a senior trader at a foreign bank. "We are in the middle of a range here. 8,500 would probably be a buy, 9,200 would probably be a sell without any real move on the currency. If the currency gets through 80 (yen to the dollar) convincingly, that changes a lot of things." The trader said the flows were light, indicating investors were "a bit confused" over the direction of the market after recent gains. Trading was relatively light on the Nikkei, with volume at 42 percent of its full daily average for the past 90 days. Exporters rose as the yen hit a three-month low of 80.02 to the dollar on Tuesday. Sources said the Bank of Japan was leaning towards easing monetary policy again next week, with policymakers discussing steps in addition to a further increase in its asset-buying scheme. Among exporters, industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp gained 0.7 percent, Nikon Corp rose 1.8 percent and Panasonic Corp added 1.2 percent. POWER FIRMS DROP The broader Topix index slipped 0.3 percent to 751.12. But Kansai Electric Power sank 6.6 percent after Jiji news agency said the company would not pay its previously forecast annual dividend due to soaring cost of imported oil and gas as the majority of its nuclear reactors remain offline. Chubu Electric Power Co shed 4 percent and Tohoku Electric Power Co lost 5.3 percent. Nomura Securities was upbeat on the Nikkei, however. "We see more upside potential than downside for the stock market in the near term," it said in a report. "If the preliminary October China Manufacturing PMI release by HSBC on Wednesday indicates a higher likelihood of Chinese economic recovery, we think there could be even further gains. Over the next week, the Nikkei average could well head toward the 9,200 level." The benchmark Nikkei is up 6.7 percent this year, lagging a 14 percent rise in the U.S. S&P 500 and an 11.6 percent gain in the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 index. The outlook for Japanese corporate earnings remains weak. According to Thomson Reuters Datastream, Japanese companies' one-month earnings momentum -- analysts' earnings upgrades minus downgrades as a total of estimates -- has deteriorated further to -12.2 percent from -6.7 percent last month. The pace of deterioration for the S&P 500 is not as pronounced. It worsens to -3 percent from -2.3 percent in September, according to Datastream.