April's Top ETFs: Energy, Natural Resources

Equity market ETFs fared better in general than the bond market.
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The month of April showed that the best average returns per category or sector for exchange traded funds were in Energy/Natural Resources (6.67%), Global Equity (5.19%) and domestic Growth & Income (5.43%).

In all, there were quite a few sectors and categories that performed well, which in general reflected the recent run up on Wall Street and world markets. This really applied only to equity markets buoyed by earnings, further

Federal Reserve

intervention and other generally positive news for the month of April.

However the bond market, after posting solid returns for March, fared worse as capital moved out of this market and into equities. With investors feeling more confident about the U.S. economy, and hence the U.S. dollar, money also came off the table from Precious Metals ETFs.

Some of the most profitable funds were the

MACROshares Oil Up

(UCR)

, returning 25.39% for the month;

Rydex 2x S&P MidCap 400 ETF

(RMM) - Get Report

, up 16.74%; and two Chinese ETF's, the

SPDR S&P China ETF

(GXC) - Get Report

17.97% and the

PowerShares Golden Dragon Hltr USX China

(PGJ) - Get Report

, returning 17.97% and 15.54% respectively.

With this week's data for mid-May showing soft economic conditions in the U.S., there may be a reversion back away from the equity markets and into bonds and precious metals.

The reasoning behind this appears to be that further evidence of a slowdown implies further assistance from the

Federal Reserve

via lower rates (which will compress yields i.e. bid the price of bonds up), or other strategies to stabilize the bond market and banking sector in general. A U.S. slowdown places uncertainty into the minds of investors - hence, there is also a flight to precious metals, especially gold. I

In the end, it all seems a bit of a crapshoot until we have a more certain economic outlook.

ETF Category

No. of Funds

1 Month Return

Sector - Energy/Natural Res

51

6.67

Growth & Income

26

5.43

Global Equity

21

5.19

Emerging Market Equity

16

4.56

Equity Income

158

4.51

Sector - Utilities

12

4.50

Sector - Financial Services

20

4.34

Growth - Domestic

160

4.23

Non-US Equity

114

3.77

Corporate - High Yield

3

3.77

Sector - Health/Biotechnology

41

3.01

Municipal - National

11

1.82

Municipal Single State

2

1.72

Emerging Market Income

2

0.78

Corporate - Investment Grade

4

0.67

Municipal - High Yield

1

0.25

General Mortgage

1

0.04

General Bd - Investment Grade

9

-0.17

Government Bond

19

-1.68

Global Income

1

-2.33

Sector - Precious Metals

10

-2.61

ETF Name

Category

TICKER

1 Month Return

HOLDRS B2B Internet

Growth - Domestic

BHH

29.73

MACROshares Oil Up

Sector - Energy/Natural Res

UCR

25.39

SPDR S&P China ETF

Non-US Equity

GXC

17.97

Rydex 2x S&P MidCap 400 ETF

Equity Income

RMM

16.74

PowerShares Gldn Drgn Hltr USX Chn

Global Equity

PGJ

15.54

ProShares Ultra Utilities

Sector - Utilities

UPW

13.84

HealthShares Cardiology

Sector - Health/Biotechnology

HRD

12.51

iPath MSCI India Index ETN

Emerging Market Equity

INP

12.24

PowerShares FTSE RAFI Intl Real Est

Growth & Income

PRY

12.04

ProShares Ultra Financials

Sector - Financial Services

UYG

10.99

DB Gold Double Short ETN

Sector - Precious Metals

DZZ

8.82

PowerShares Insured CA Mun Bond

Municipal - National

PWZ

5.50

PowerShares High Yield Corp Bond

Corporate - High Yield

PHB

4.18

PowerShares Preferred Port

General Bd - Investment Grade

PGX

2.28

iShares S&P CA Municipal Bond

Municipal Single State

CMF

2.19

iShares iBoxx $ Inves Grade Corp Bd

Corporate - Investment Grade

LQD

1.25

iShares JPMorgan USD Emg Mkts

Emerging Market Income

EMB

1.16

PowerShares VRDO Tax-Free Weekly

Municipal - High Yield

PVI

0.25

iShares Lehman Short Treasury Bond

Government Bond

SHV

0.09

iShares Lehman MBS Fixed-Rate Bond

General Mortgage

MBB

0.04

SPDR Lehman Intl Treasury Bond ETF

Global Income

BWX

-2.33

Sam Patel, CFA, is the manager of mutual fund research for the TheStreet.com Ratings.

In keeping with TSC's Investment Policy, employees of TheStreet.com Ratings with access to pre-publication ratings data must pre-clear any potential trade through the legal department, and are prohibited from trading any security that is the subject of an unpublished rating revision until the second business day after the rating is published.

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