The S&P/ASX 200 index gained 1.9 per cent during April, according to the latest data from S&P Dow Jones Indices, building on the 3.5 per cent gain seen during the March quarter.
While a positive result for the benchmark index, S&P Dow Jones Indices’ director of index investment strategy, Benedek Vörös, noted that Australian large cap stocks had been beaten by their mid and small cap counterparts last month.
“Mid and small caps outperformed their blue-chip peers with the S&P/ASX MidCap 50 and the S&P/ASX Small Ordinaries gaining 3.5 per cent and 2.8 per cent, respectively,” he said.
All but one of the 11 sectors of the S&P/ASX 200 delivered a positive result last month.
“S&P/ASX 200 real estate was the best performing sector in April, up 5.1 per cent, while materials was the only sector that finished the month in the red, down 2.6 per cent,” Mr Vörös said.
Behind real estate, information technology (4.8 per cent), industrials (4.5 per cent), health care (3.7 per cent), and communication services (3.6 per cent) had the next highest returns.
These were followed by financials (3.3 per cent), consumer discretionary (2.8 per cent), consumer staples (1.8 per cent), energy (1.7 per cent), and utilities (1.4 per cent).
Over the first four months of the year, the consumer discretionary sector has delivered a 14.5 per cent return, with communication services (13.4 per cent), information technology (13.3 per cent), and industrials (11.4 per cent) also posting returns of above 10 per cent.
All sectors are in the black so far this year, however, both financials (0.6 per cent) and energy (0.7 per cent) remained relatively flat at the end of April.
Looking back over the past 12 months, real estate (-11.2 per cent), information technology (-2.9 per cent), and financials (-2.3 per cent) were all in the red, while the energy sector (13.9 per cent) was the strongest performer.
The S&P/ASX 200 has gained 5.4 per cent over the past four months and 2.8 per cent for the past year.
Turning to other major indices, S&P/ASX Emerging Companies was up 1.5 per cent in April and 3.9 per cent in the year to date but has fallen 16.0 per cent over the past 12 months.
Meanwhile, despite its outperformance during April, S&P/ASX Small Ordinaries has lagged the S&P/ASX 200 both year to date (4.7 per cent) and on a 12-month basis (-9.4 per cent).
The S&P/ASX MidCap 50 has also lagged in the benchmark index in the past four (3.5 per cent) and 12 (1.1 per cent) months.
Jon Bragg is a journalist for Momentum Media's Investor Daily, nestegg and ifa. He enjoys writing about a wide variety of financial topics and issues and exploring the many implications they have on all aspects of life.