* KDDI contributes hefty positive points to Nikkei after upgrade
* Key meetings of central banks keep investors cautious
* Takata falls after U.S. regulator signals expanded recall probe
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks were higher on Tuesday morning led by the telecom sector but gains were capped as investors remained cautious before key events expected through this week until month-end.
KDDI Corp soared 5.8 percent and contributed a hefty positive 36 points to the Nikkei benchmark after Deutsche Securities hiked its rating to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’, saying that the stock is oversold after dropping 20 percent from its August peak.
Interest in KDDI appeared to spillover to rival NTT Docomo Inc, which rose 3.0 percent.
The Nikkei gained 0.4 percent to 18,209.65 in midmorning trade after shedding 0.9 percent on Monday.
Traders said that investors are adopting a cautious approach before key policy meetings of developed country central banks. The European Central Bank’s policy meeting is scheduled this Thursday, followed by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy review on Oct. 27-28 and the Bank Of Japan’s policy meeting on Oct. 30.
“A relatively quiet market reflects investors’ cautious stances on the ECB meeting and other meetings,” said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities. “Until then, investors are taking their cues from U.S. earnings and Japanese companies’ earnings.”
Exporters were mixed, with Honda Motor Co rising 0.2 percent, Toyota Motor Corp falling 0.3 percent and Panasonic Corp shedding 0.6 percent.
Brewer Takara Holdings Inc outperformed the market, jumping 9.1 percent after raising its April-Sept earnings outlook. It now expects an operating profit of 3.8 billion yen, up from its previously forecast 2.9 billion yen.
Takata Corp dropped 3.2 percent after U.S. regulators signalled that their investigation into the company’s air bag inflators will expand beyond 11 automakers.
The broader Topix gained 0.3 percent to 1,498.71 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.3 percent to 13,416.03. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)