By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average jumped to end above 13,500 on Thursday, the first time it has done so in almost five years, with the bullish mood in place since the central bank announced unprecedented stimulus measures showing few signs of abating.
The benchmark index has climbed 9.6 percent since the Bank of Japan surprised markets a week ago with a plan to inject $1.4 trillion into the world's third-largest economy to beat deflation. The BOJ meets again on April 26.
"Until then, investors don't want to short... They aren't expecting the central bank to announce anything drastic at the meeting, but there is a risk of losing out if it does," said Hiroyuki Fukunaga, the chief executive of Investrust.
The Nikkei rose 2 percent to end at 13,549.16, with analysts noting that further weakness in the yen and record highs on Wall Street were also serving as tailwinds for the market.
The index currently trades 7.5 percent above its 25-day moving average of 12,527.89. It has surged over 50 percent since mid-November, when Japan's current prime minister began calling for bold BOJ action as part of his election campaign.
"The current market is overbought. But investors tend to shrug off technical signs showing that the market is overheated as excitement over monetary easing outweighs," said Kenichi Hirano, a strategist at Tachibana Securities.
A Reuters poll showed analysts now expect the Nikkei, up nearly 30 percent so far this year, to rise 40 percent in 2013 to 14,500, the highest since June 2008, while the yen will likely slide 18 percent against the dollar to close the year around 102 to the dollar.
The Topix advanced 2.3 percent to 1,147.29 in heavy trade, with 5.15 billion shares changing hands. That compares with last month's average trading volume of 3.24 billion shares.
Developers, brokers and insurers were among the biggest gainers.
Nomura Holdings <8604.T>, Japan's largest securities firm, jumped 8.3 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group <8306.T> gained 2.6 percent and Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co <8750.T> soared 5.4 percent.
Mitsui Fudosan Co <8801.T> advanced 3.4 percent and Mitsubishi Estate Co <8802.T> gained 3.1 percent.
Among exporters, Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T> rose 5.8 percent, and Honda Motor Co <7267.T> gained 3.1 percent.
Shares of Sharp Corp <6753.T> surged 8 percent after a newspaper reported that the TV maker is likely beat its own profit estimate in the October-March period, helped by restructuring steps and increased sales of LCD panels to Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS>.
The yen last traded at 99.73 yen to the dollar. On Wednesday, the dollar hit a four-year high of 99.88 yen.
(Editing by Edwina Gibbs)