This Tuesday's session has been an especially lucrative one for the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) and most ASX 200 shares. The ASX 200 got painfully close to breaking its all-time record high this morning and remains up 0.23% at the time of writing at 7,596.3 points. But let's talk about what is happening with ASX 200 bank shares like National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB).
NAB shares have had a wild day. The ASX 200's second-largest bank stock by market capitalisation had a strong start this morning, rising as high as $32.34 a share – a new 52-week high for NAB. However, soon after, NAB shares lost steam. The bank is currently in the red zone, down 0.16% for the day at $32.09 a share at present.
Even so, the new 52-week high still counts.
NAB wasn't the only ASX 200 bank stock to close in on a new high today. This Tuesday also saw ANZ Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: ANZ) shares clock a new 52-week high of $26.99 a share. This bank is now up around 18% since June last year.
But Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) has done one better. CBA shares hit not just a new 52-week high today, but a fresh all-time, record high. Yep, CBA shares clocked a new high watermark of $116.94 earlier this morning – the highest this ASX 200 bank has ever traded at. CBA is now up more than 20% since only late October.
Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) investors might be feeling a little left out right about now. They shouldn't get too envious though. Westpac may not have broken any new highs today. But Westpac shares did get as high as $24.04 this morning, just a touch off this bank's reigning 52-week high of $24.10.
Why are ASX bank shares like NAB and CBA at new highs today?
Unfortunately, there's no obvious catalyst for these new highs from NAB shares and the other ASX 200 bank stocks. Earlier today, we did cover why the overall ASX stock market was nearing its own record high. Those same factors – falling inflation, strong economic growth with low unemployment, and the expectations of interest rate cuts this year – are probably also at play with the banks today.
It's worth noting that earnings season is almost upon us though. Only CBA is scheduled to give investors a complete half-year earnings report next month (14 February). It seems that the markets are anticipating quite the Valentine for investors on that day.
However, we are still in line to receive quarterly trading updates from the other big banks in February. So perhaps investors are… banking… on some good numbers coming out. Perhaps even a CBA dividend hike.
As such, it will be interesting to see how the share prices of NAB, CBA and the other banks react to these reports. Until then, let's see if we get any more 52-week (or all-time) highs from our bank stocks.