April was another good month for U.S. large-caps, although small-caps and international stocks underperformed. Long-term Treasuries added about 2.5%, but those asset classes weren't nearly the big story.
Commodity prices continued to soar thanks to supply/demand imbalances fueled by global supply chain issues. Precious metals, including gold and silver, produced gains of 3-5%, but it was agricultural products that delivered double digit returns across the board.
Here's the list of the top 30 performing ETFs for the month of April 2021.
The Breakwave Dry Bulk Shipping ETF (BDRY) is easily the month's top performer, returning more than 45%. The thesis here is pretty straightforward. The demand for shipping across virtually all channels, including ocean freight, trucking and air travel, is strong and the desire to get inputs quickly is also raising costs for shipping.
On the agricultural side, the Teucrium Corn ETF (CORN), the Teucrium Wheat ETF (WEAT), the Teucrium Sugar ETF (CANE) and the United States Copper ETF (CPER) all land in the top 15 positions. That's not even including more broad-based commodity funds, such as the Teucrium Algricultural ETF (TAGS), the USCF SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Strategy No K-1 ETF (SDCI), the United States Commodity Index ETF (USCI) and the Invesco DB Agriculture ETF (DBA).
Biotech also had a good month landing a couple of ETFs on this list, including the Global X China Biotech Innovation ETF (CHB) and the Loncar China BioPharma ETF (CHNA). The broader theme here may be more related to China than biotech as the country remains ahead of the global curve for moving past the COVID-19 pandemic even though stock performance from the country has been mixed.
Other positive themes for the month include battery tech, including the two ETFs here that make the list, real estate, which is enjoying a bit of a bounce following an extended period as one of the market's worst performers, and even the T. Rowe Price Blue Chip Growth ETF (TCHP). A broad large-cap ETF is usually non-existent in a monthly top performer list, but it's focus on growth gave it a modest edge over its peers. It's worth noting that TCHP is one of the handful of ETFs that were launched in order to provide equivalents to their large and successful mutual fund counterparts.