The best-performing exchange-traded funds signal a bottoming in two key areas of the U.S. economy: real estate and commodities. The ETFs also point to a bottom-fishing expedition in value stocks.
After excluding the 20 ETFs that use leverage, 10 of the 25 best-performing funds in April invest in real estate.
Pending sales of existing U.S. homes rose in April for the second month in a row, showing buyers are locking in prices that are cheaper than at any time in a generation. Add to that a gain in construction spending bolstered by commercial and government stimulus projects, and the foundation is laid for an upturn.
Of the real estate funds, none performed better than the iShares FTSE NAREIT Retail Capped Index Fund (RTL Quote). The fund returned 51% as four of its holdings more than doubled in value, including 236% from CBL & Associates (CBL Quote), 180% from Macerich (MAC Quote), 118% from Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PEI Quote) and 106% in Cedar Shopping Centers (CDR Quote).