The Australia and New Zealand Banking GrpLtd (ASX: ANZ) share price has hit a new 52-week high today. ANZ shares are up 2.05% at the time of writing, trading at $27.44 a share.
Now, you might be thinking, ‘sure, it’s a new 52-week high, but this time last year, the market was in freefall, so it doesn’t count’. Well, that’s a good point. But it doesn’t apply to ANZ.
On 3 March 2020, ANZ shares closed at $24, well below the current share price. But on 21 February 2020, the ANZ share price was trading at only $27.24. You have to go back to October 2019 to find the last time ANZ was at these heights.
So it’s a good day for this ASX banking share today indeed. But this is only the latest windfall in what has been a few very nice months to own ANZ shares.
At today’s prices, ANZ shares are up around 66% from 22 September 2020. That’s better than all of the other big four ASX banks. Over the same period, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) shares are up ‘just’ 35%. National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) shares have returned 54%, and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) shares, 52%.
Of the big four, ANZ is also one of only two to have climbed back to where it was in October 2019 (the other being CBA).
So why is ANZ a standout banking performer?
ANZ shares bring home the bacon
Well, ANZ did not issue a dilutive $3.5 billion capital raise last year. NAB can’t say the same. That would have helped. It also did not face the largest corporate fine in Australian history last year, as Westpac did. That, too, also helped.
ANZ also managed to pay out 2 dividends last year (again, unlike Westpac). And even though those dividends (60 cents per share) were a pale imitation of what ANZ forked out in 2019 ($1.60 per share), I’m sure its investors appreciated it all the same.
Finally, investors seemed to have greeted ANZ’s recent quarterly earnings report well. ANZ reported its earnings on 18 February for the quarter ending 31 December 2020. This included a 54% increase in profits against the previous quarter. ANZ CEO Shayne Elliot was bullish on the results, saying, “ANZ is well-positioned heading into the remainder of 2021 with good momentum in our core activities”.
ANZ shares rose 2% that day, so clearly, investors liked what they saw.
Today, ANZ appears to have the wind at its back and the support of investors. This seems to be enough to push the ANZ share price to new 52-week highs as we put the earnings season behind us.
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Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen owns shares of National Australia Bank Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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