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Here’s how these ASX banking shares are performing in 2019

The Australian share market has been in fine form in 2019. Since the start of the year the S&P/ASX 200 index has gained approximately 20% or around 22% if you include dividends.

Due to their weighting in the index, Australia’s big four banks have played a key role in propelling the index to within sight of its record high.

There have been a number of catalysts for this, including a better than expected Royal Commission final report, housing market improvements, asset divestments, a favourable election result, and the hunt for yield in a low interest rate environment.

Here’s how they the big four banks have performed so far in 2019:

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) share price has provided investors with a return of 17.6% since the start of the year. This includes its fully franked 80 cents per share interim dividend which was paid to shareholders earlier this month.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) share price has generated a return of 17.7% this year including dividends. CBA paid a fully franked $2.00 per share dividend to shareholders in March. In April Australia’s biggest bank saw its shares hit an all-time high.

The National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) share price has provided investors with an impressive total return of 18.5% in 2019. This makes it the best-performer in the group and is despite the banking giant slashing its fully franked interim dividend down from 99 cents per share to 83 cents per share. A change of leadership appears to have supported its shares this year.

The Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) share price has generated a total return of 18.3% since the start of the year. This includes the bank’s fully franked 94 cents per share interim dividend which was paid to shareholders in June.

Australia’s regional banks haven’t performed quite as well as their illustrious peers this year.

The Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd (ASX: BEN) share price has provided a return of 12.9% including its fully franked 35 cents per share interim dividend.

Whereas the Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX: BOQ) share price has been a very disappointing performer this year. It has generated a total return of just 2.3% including its fully franked 34 cents per share interim dividend. If you exclude this dividend, its shares would actually be down approximately 1.3% year to date.

I'm sure the question on everybody's lips now is whether it is too late to invest? I'd still be a buyer of most of these banking shares, though I would probably pick this buy-rated bank share ahead of the rest of them.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro owns shares of Westpac Banking. 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 Scott Phillips.

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