3 top ASX bank shares hit 52-week highs today: Is there still value to be found?

The banks are flying high, but is it too late to buy?

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It's been an interesting day on the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) so far this Monday. At the present time, the ASX 200 has slipped by 0.15%, leaving the index at just above 7,630 points. But, unusually, we are still seeing some healthy rises from the big four ASX 200 bank shares today.

Because the banks form such a large chunk of the overall ASX 200 Index, it's common to see their collective movements dictate what the broader market is doing. But not so today.

Right now, all four of the major banks are enjoying decent share price rises.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) shares are presently up 0.36% to $116.66.

Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) stock has risen 0.7% to $24.54.

National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) shares have gained 1.25% to $32.78.

And the ANZ Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: ANZ) share price has lifted 1.37% to $28.06.

But it gets even better.

ASX 200 banks see a flurry of new 52-week highs

Three of those big four banks have also hit new 52-week highs today.

ANZ touched a new high watermark of $28.06 a share around midday.

NAB stock hit $32.80 around the same time.

As did Westpac, for its own fresh high of $24.56.

CBA is the odd one out today. Saying that, it was only last month that we saw the ASX 200's largest bank clock a new all-time, record high of $118.24.

The ASX 200 banks are some of the most popular shares on our stock market, thanks in no small part to the generous (and usually fully franked) dividends these stocks usually fork out every year.

So should investors still be considering investing in these ASX bank shares when they're at these fresh highs?

Are the bank shares still buys at new 52-week highs?

Well, I think it's rather subjective, with no right answer. Personally, I'm not too tempted by any of the banks right now.

CBA shares look expensive, as they always do.

My pick of the rest of them is NAB. I already own NAB shares, but I'm not even thinking about picking up any more at these kinds of prices.

As we discussed earlier this month, the recent (and significant) gains in the NAB share price have resulted in the dividend yield you can get for NAB shares dropping more than 20% over the past eight months. Today's fresh highs for the bank would have ensured an even larger drop.

Back in June last year, you could snag a trailing dividend yield of 6.65% when buying NAB shares. But today, that yield has fallen to just 5.09%. In CBA's case, we're looking at a very un-banklike yield of just 3.86%. In the latter's case, a significantly higher yield is available from a CBA term deposit right now.

While I'm not normally a proponent of timing the market when buying your shares, I do think that an investment in an ASX bank right now isn't the most compelling value proposition.

If you're a dividend investor who lives off of your portfolio income, then perhaps an investment in ANZ shares is still a decent idea. ANZ is currently leading the banks in terms of yield, with its 6.23% offering today. Westpac is also looking relatively attractive, with its yield of 5.78%.

Further, ANZ has today just given investors a well-received trading update. In contrast, we're still waiting for some 2024 data from the other big four banks. I don't normally like buying a share in the run-up to earning season, given there is usually a fair bit of market speculation going on.

But for anyone else, there are probably better places to look in my view.

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has positions in National Australia Bank. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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 Scott Phillips.

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