The Best-Performing ETFs of the Month

iShares S&P/TSX Global Base Metals Index ETF and BMO MSCI China ESG Leaders Index ETF were among the best-performing ETFs in April 2024.

Bella Albrecht 6 May, 2024 | 12:28PM
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ETF illustration

Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are often low-cost instruments for investors to track popular indexes or leverage experienced manager choices in an attempt to beat the market. The best ones serve as building blocks for a portfolio, and unlike open-end mutual funds, all ETFs are traded throughout the day on an exchange.

In April 2024, the top-performing ETFs included natural resources equity fund iShares S&P/TSX Global Base Metals Index ETF XBM and Greater China equity fund BMO MSCI China ESG Leaders Index ETF ZCH. Data in this article is sourced from Morningstar Direct.

Screening for the Best-Performing ETFs

To find the month’s best-performing ETFs, we screened equity, allocation, and fixed income funds that trade within Canada for those that have at least C$10 million in total assets. We narrowed the list to only ETFs with parent pillars for their Morningstar Medalist Ratings of average or above, meaning our analysts believe they're backed by industry-standard asset management companies. We also excluded exchange traded notes, known as ETNs.

Within our list, four funds fell into the precious metals equity category, where the average name rose 19.45% in April.

The 10 Best-Performing ETFs for April 2024:

  1. iShares S&P/TSX Global Base Metals Index ETF XBM
  2. BMO MSCI China ESG Leaders Index ETF ZCH
  3. BMO Equal Weight Global Base Metals Hedged to CAD Index ETF ZMT
  4. iShares S&P/TSX Global Gold Index ETF XGD
  5. BMO Equal Weight Global Gold Index ETF ZGD
  6. iShares S&P/TSX Capped Materials Index ETF XMA
  7. Global X Gold Producer Equity Covered Call ETF GLCC
  8. iShares Emerging Markets Fundamental Index ETF CWO
  9. Mackenzie China A-Shares CSI 300 Index ETF QCH
  10. BMO Junior Gold Index ETF ZJG

Metrics for the Best-Performing ETFs

iShares S&P/TSX Global Base Metals Index ETF

  • Morningstar Rating: 3 stars
  • Expense Ratio: 0.60%
  • Morningstar Category: Natural Resources Equity

The C$302 million iShares S&P/TSX Global Base Metals Index ETF was the best-performing ETF in April, with a 7.64% return. The passively managed iShares ETF fell short of the 9.55% gain on the average fund in Morningstar’s natural resources equity category for the month. Over the last 12 months, the iShares S&P/TSX Global Base Metals Index ETF has returned 11.69%, outperforming the 5.65% gain on the average fund in its category, leaving the ETF in the 34th percentile.

The iShares S&P/TSX Global Base Metals Index ETF has a Morningstar Medalist Rating of Gold. It was launched in April 2011.

BMO MSCI China ESG Leaders Index ETF

  • Morningstar Rating: 1 star
  • Expense Ratio: 0.67%
  • Morningstar Category: Greater China Equity

The second-best-performing ETF in April was the C$89 million BMO MSCI China ESG Leaders Index ETF. The passively managed BMO ETF returned 7.41%, outperforming the average Greater China equity fund, which gained 0.67%. Looking back over the last 12 months, the BMO MSCI China ESG Leaders Index ETF has fallen 9.09%, falling less than the 18.02% loss on the average fund in its category, leaving the ETF in the 50th percentile.

The BMO MSCI China ESG Leaders Index ETF takes environmental, social, and governance criteria into consideration. This fund has a Morningstar Medalist Rating of Neutral.

BMO Equal Weight Global Base Metals Hedged to CAD Index ETF

  • Morningstar Rating: 2 stars
  • Expense Ratio: 0.61%
  • Morningstar Category: Natural Resources Equity

The C$36 million BMO Equal Weight Global Base Metals Hedged to CAD Index ETF ranked third for the month, returning 7.26%. The BMO ETF, which is passively managed, fell short of the 9.55% average return on funds in the natural resources equity category for April. Over the last 12 months, the BMO ETF has returned 21.71%, ahead of the 5.65% gain on the average fund in its category, leaving the ETF in the 10th percentile.

The BMO Equal Weight Global Base Metals Hedged to CAD Index ETF, launched in October 2009, has a Morningstar Medalist Rating of Bronze.

iShares S&P/TSX Global Gold Index ETF

  • Morningstar Rating: 3 stars
  • Expense Ratio: 0.61%
  • Morningstar Category: Precious Metals Equity

With a 6.76% return, the C$1.3 billion iShares S&P/TSX Global Gold Index ETF ranked fourth in April. The passively managed iShares ETF underperformed the 19.45% return on the average precious metals equity fund. Over the last 12 months, the fund has dropped 1.35%, dropped less than the 2.87% decline on funds in its category, placing it in the 70th percentile for the period.

The iShares S&P/TSX Global Gold Index ETF has a Gold Morningstar Medalist Rating. It was launched in March 2001.

BMO Equal Weight Global Gold Index ETF

  • Morningstar Rating: 3 stars
  • Expense Ratio: 0.60%
  • Morningstar Category: Precious Metals Equity

The fifth-best-performing ETF was the C$57 million BMO Equal Weight Global Gold Index ETF, which gained 5.98% in April. This passively managed BMO ETF trailed the 19.45% average return on funds in the precious metals equity category. Over the past year, the BMO Equal Weight Global Gold Index ETF rose 5.86%, outperforming the 2.87% drop on the average fund in its category and placing it in the 10th percentile.

The BMO Equal Weight Global Gold Index ETF, launched in November 2012, has a Morningstar Medalist Rating of Bronze.

iShares S&P/TSX Capped Materials Index ETF

  • Morningstar Rating: 3 stars
  • Expense Ratio: 0.60%
  • Morningstar Category: Natural Resources Equity

The C$162 million iShares S&P/TSX Capped Materials Index ETF was the sixth-best-performing Canadian ETF in April, with a 5.82% return. The return on the passively managed iShares ETF fell short of the 9.55% gain on the average fund in Morningstar’s natural resources equity category. Looking back over the last 12 months, the iShares S&P/TSX Capped Materials Index ETF has fallen 1.49%, underperforming the 5.65% return on the average fund in its category, leaving the ETF in the 78th percentile.

The Silver-rated iShares S&P/TSX Capped Materials Index ETF was launched in December 2005.

Global X Gold Producer Equity Covered Call ETF

  • Morningstar Rating: 3 stars
  • Expense Ratio: 0.81%
  • Morningstar Category: Precious Metals Equity

The seventh-best-performing ETF in April was the C$215 million Global X Gold Producer Equity Covered Call ETF. The passively managed Horizons ETF returned 5.15%, underperforming the average precious metals equity fund, which gained 19.45%. Looking back over the last 12 months, the Global X Gold Producer Equity Covered Call ETF has returned 0.13%, outperforming the 2.87% loss on the average fund in its category, leaving the ETF in the 58th percentile.

The Global X Gold Producer Equity Covered Call ETF has a Morningstar Medalist Rating of Bronze. It was launched in April 2011.

iShares Emerging Markets Fundamental Index ETF

  • Morningstar Rating: 4 stars
  • Expense Ratio: 0.73%
  • Morningstar Category: Emerging Markets Equity

The C$52 million iShares Emerging Markets Fundamental Index ETF ranked eighth for the month, returning 4.21%. The iShares ETF, which is passively managed, topped the 2.05% average gain on funds in the emerging markets equity category. Over the last 12 months, the iShares ETF has returned 14.46%, ahead of the 7.66% return on the average fund in its category, leaving it in the 23rd percentile for performance.

The Gold-rated iShares Emerging Markets Fundamental Index ETF was launched in April 2009.

Mackenzie China A-Shares CSI 300 Index ETF

  • Morningstar Rating: 4 stars
  • Expense Ratio: 0.72%
  • Morningstar Category: Greater China Equity

With a 4.14% gain, the C$23 million Mackenzie China A-Shares CSI 300 Index ETF ranked ninth in April. The passively managed Mackenzie ETF outperformed the 0.67% return on the average Greater China equity fund. Over the last 12 months, the fund has dropped 11.08%, declining less than the 18.02% loss on funds in its category, placing it in the 75th percentile.

The Mackenzie China A-Shares CSI 300 Index ETF, launched in February 2018, has a Morningstar Medalist Rating of Gold.

BMO Junior Gold Index ETF

  • Morningstar Rating: 2 stars
  • Expense Ratio: 0.61%
  • Morningstar Category: Precious Metals Equity

The tenth-best performing ETF was the C$63 million BMO Junior Gold Index ETF, which gained 3.37% in April. The passively managed BMO ETF trailed the 19.45% average return on funds in the precious metals equity category. Over the past year, the BMO Junior Gold Index ETF rose 0.81%, outperforming the 2.87% loss on the average fund in its category and placing it in the 51st percentile.

The BMO Junior Gold Index ETF has a Morningstar Medalist Rating of Neutral. It was launched in January 2010.

What Are ETFs?

Exchange-traded funds are investments that trade throughout the day on stock exchanges, much like individual stocks. They differ from traditional mutual funds—known as open-end funds—which can only be bought or sold at a single price each day. Historically, ETFs have tracked indexes, but in recent years, more ETFs have been actively managed. ETFs cover a range of asset classes, including stocks, bonds, commodities, and most recently cryptocurrency.

The Best ETFs: More Ideas to Consider

Investors who would like to find more of the top-performing or cheapest ETFs can do the following:

  • Use the ETF Screener tool to find the best ETFs according to your specific criteria. You can search for funds based on their fees, Morningstar Medalist Ratings, manager tenures, and more.
  • Find ideas specific to your needs, or learn more about ETFs, on our ETF Insights page.
  • Compare funds and ETFs side by side and easily follow their valuations, ratings, and fees.

This article was compiled by Bella Albrecht, edited by Lauren Solberg, and reviewed by Andrew Willis.

As part of our mission to put more information into the hands of investors, this article was compiled from Morningstar’s data and independent research using automation technology. The original article was written by Morningstar reporters and editors. This updated version was reviewed by an editor.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar Rating
BMO Equal Weight Glbl BM Hdgd to CAD ETF64.50 CAD-0.37Rating
BMO Equal Weight Global Gold ETF87.46 CAD-1.13Rating
BMO MSCI China ESG Leaders ETF13.73 CAD0.96Rating
iShares S&P/TSX Global Base Metals ETF20.99 CAD-0.99Rating
iShares S&P/TSX Global Gold ETF19.38 CAD-0.36Rating

About Author

Bella Albrecht  is an associate data journalist at Morningstar Inc. 

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