What an interesting (and enjoyable) month we just finished! The Australian sharemarket, as measured by the ALL ORDINARIES (INDEXASX: XAO) finished the month up 4.77%, while the biggest companies, measured by the S&P/ASX 200 returned an astonishing 5.06%.

Out of the ordinary

The overall returns themselves actually weren’t that surprising, rather it was the companies that drove the performance that made the month extraordinary.

So much so that we’ve seen a changing of the guard at the top of the ASX; the big banks have once-again succumbed to our giant mining stocks BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO).

The two big miners surged past National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) to now occupy the third and fourth positions on the ASX by market cap.

If this trend is to continue then the following companies, which were all among the top performers in April and have returned in excess of 30% over the last three months, are definitely worth a closer look:

  • BHP Billiton – up 24% in April
  • Rio Tinto – up 23% in April
  • Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) – up 19% in April and 51% in three months
  • South32 Ltd (ASX: S32) – up 16% in April and 70% in three months
  • Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) – up 13% in April
  • Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) – up 11% in April

Time to buy?

I think if you’re looking at these companies as potential purchases now, you may have missed the easy gains. It’s not often that we’re going to see a 24% rise in the share price of one of the four largest companies on the ASX in a single month.

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Motley Fool contributor Andrew Mudie has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.