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Is it time to buy Australia and New Zealand Banking Group shares?

I think it is fair to say that the performance of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) share price has been disappointing in 2017.

Year-to-date the banking giant’s shares have fallen just over 5%. Including its dividend means its total return is flat over the period.

Should you buy its shares today?

While ideally I would prefer to buy ANZ Bank’s shares in or around the $27 mark, I do think that they represent good value at the current share price.

I’ve been pleased with the way the bank has sold-off its non-core assets in order to focus on its core business. I believe this strategy will create long-term value for shareholders.

As will the recently announced $1.5 billion on-market share buyback that is expected to commence in January. The bank opted for the buyback after completing the sale of its 20% stake in Shanghai Rural Commercial.

This has attracted the attention of analysts at Morgans who recently recommended the bank as a buy.

A note out of Morgans last week revealed that its analysts retained their add rating and $30 price target on the bank’s shares following the sale and the announcement of its buyback plans. All in all, the broker believes that ANZ Bank could buy back upwards of $6.4 billion of shares in total.

If the bank were to achieve this level of buyback then I believe it would add significant value for shareholders. This could make it worth considering ahead of National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA).

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of National Australia Bank Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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