Strong sales and earnings from top oil and gas companies helped propel the energy sector to the top of the heap through the first four months of 2011.

Energy outperformed all the other major industry sectors in both the Russell 3000 Index and the Russell Developed ex-U.S. Index through April 22, gaining 16.2% and 13%, respectively, and posting returns identical returns of 7.4% over this period.

Health care stocks garnered a 10.3% return in the Russell 3000 and an 8.6% gain in the Russell ex-U.S. Index while technology stocks a group performed the worst of the major industries, posting gains of only 4.9% and 3.4%, respectively.

The financial services sector scampered up 2.8% in the Russell 3000 Index and 8.9% on the Russell Developed ex-U.S. Index.

The Russell Global Index includes more than 10,000 securities in 48 countries and covers 98% of the investable global market.