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TOKYO, March 5 (Reuters) - The Nikkei average ended at a new 4-1/2 year high on Tuesday as confirmation hearings for Bank of Japan leadership nominees buoyed sentiment, but gains were trimmed in late trade on profit-taking in recent gainers like financials and exporters. The Nikkei gained 0.3 percent to 11,683.45, its highest closing level since September 2008. At one point, it rose as high as 11,779.42, also its highest level since September 2008. The broader Topix dropped 0.4 percent to 988.62.