The iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA) and the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) are both among the Top 100 ETFs. EFA is a iShares Foreign Large Blend fund and GLD is a SPDR State Street Global Advisors N/A fund. So, what’s the difference between EFA and GLD? And which fund is better?
The expense ratio of EFA is 0.08 percentage points lower than GLD’s (0.32% vs. 0.4%). EFA also has a higher exposure to the financial services sector and a lower standard deviation. Overall, EFA has provided higher returns than GLD over the past ten years.
In this article, we’ll compare EFA vs. GLD. We’ll look at portfolio growth and industry exposure, as well as at their annual returns and holdings. Moreover, I’ll also discuss EFA’s and GLD’s fund composition, risk metrics, and performance and examine how these affect their overall returns.
|Name||iShares MSCI EAFE ETF||SPDR Gold Shares|
|Category||Foreign Large Blend||N/A|
|Issuer||iShares||SPDR State Street Global Advisors|
The iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA) is a Foreign Large Blend fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 56.77B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 6.47% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 2.28% with an expense ratio of 0.32%.
The SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) is a N/A fund that is issued by SPDR State Street Global Advisors. It currently has 59.26B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 5.81% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 0.0% with an expense ratio of 0.4%.
EFA’s dividend yield is 2.28% higher than that of GLD (2.28% vs. 0.0%). Also, EFA yielded on average 0.66% more per year over the past decade (6.47% vs. 5.81%). The expense ratio of EFA is 0.08 percentage points lower than GLD’s (0.32% vs. 0.4%).
The iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA) has the most exposure to the Financial Services sector at 16.88%. This is followed by Industrials and Healthcare at 15.01% and 12.8% respectively. Utilities (3.35%), Energy (3.51%), and Communication Services (5.68%) only make up 12.54% of the fund’s total assets.
EFA’s mid-section with moderate exposure is comprised of Basic Materials, Technology, Consumer Defensive, Consumer Cyclical, and Healthcare stocks at 7.91%, 9.68%, 10.56%, 11.62%, and 12.8%.
The SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) has the most exposure to the Technology sector at 0.0%. This is followed by Industrials and Energy at 0.0% and 0.0% respectively. Consumer Cyclical (0.0%), Financial Services (0.0%), and Real Estate (0.0%) only make up 0.00% of the fund’s total assets.
GLD’s mid-section with moderate exposure is comprised of Consumer Defensive, Healthcare, Utilities, Communication Services, and Energy stocks at 0.0%, 0.0%, 0.0%, 0.0%, and 0.0%.
EFA is 16.88% more exposed to the Financial Services sector than GLD (16.88% vs 0.0%). EFA’s exposure to Industrials and Healthcare stocks is 15.01% higher and 12.80% higher respectively (15.01% vs. 0.0% and 12.8% vs. 0.0%). In total, Utilities, Energy, and Communication Services also make up 12.54% more of the fund’s holdings compared to GLD (12.54% vs. 0.00%).
|ASML Holding NV||1.69%|
|Roche Holding AG||1.55%|
|LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE||1.28%|
|Toyota Motor Corp||1.09%|
|AIA Group Ltd||0.88%|
EFA’s Top Holdings are Nestle SA, ASML Holding NV, Roche Holding AG, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, and Novartis AG at 2.11%, 1.69%, 1.55%, 1.28%, and 1.19%.
Toyota Motor Corp (1.09%), AstraZeneca PLC (0.92%), and Unilever PLC (0.9%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. AIA Group Ltd and SAP SE are also represented in the EFA’s holdings at 0.88% and 0.86%.
GLD’s Top Holdings are Gold Trust, N/A, N/A, N/A, and N/A at 100.0%, 0%, 0%, 0%, and 0%.
N/A (0%), N/A (0%), and N/A (0%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. N/A and N/A are also represented in the GLD’s holdings at 0% and 0%.
The iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA) has a Beta of 0.98 with a Sharpe Ratio of 0.41 and a R-squared of 96.78. Its Standard Deviation is 15.01 while EFA’s Mean Return is 0.57. Furthermore, the fund has a Alpha of 0.47 and a Treynor Ratio of 5.33.
The SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) has a Sharpe Ratio of 0.12 with a Alpha of 3.91 and a Beta of 0.48. Its R-squared is 16.21 while GLD’s Standard Deviation is 16.58. Furthermore, the fund has a Mean Return of 0.21 and a Treynor Ratio of 1.21.
EFA’s Mean Return is 0.36 points higher than that of GLD and its R-squared is 80.57 points higher. With a Standard Deviation of 15.01, EFA is slightly less volatile than GLD. The Alpha and Beta of EFA are 3.44 points lower and 0.50 points higher than GLD’s Alpha and Beta.
EFA had its best year in 2017 with an annual return of 24.94%. EFA’s worst year over the past decade yielded -13.83% and occurred in 2018. In most years the iShares MSCI EAFE ETF provided moderate returns such as in 2016, 2010, and 2020 where annual returns amounted to 0.96%, 7.52%, and 7.92% respectively.
The year 2010 was the strongest year for GLD, returning 27.25% on an annual basis. The poorest year for GLD in the last ten years was 2013, with a yield of -28.09%. Most years the SPDR Gold Shares has given investors modest returns, such as in 2012, 2016, and 2011, when gains were 5.26%, 8.69%, and 11.2% respectively.
|Fund||Initial Balance||Final Balance||CAGR|
A $10,000 investment in EFA would have resulted in a final balance of $18,269. This is a profit of $8,269 over 11 years and amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.47%.
With a $10,000 investment in GLD, the end total would have been $16,395. This equates to a $6,395 profit over 11 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.81%.
EFA’s CAGR is 0.66 percentage points higher than that of GLD and as a result, would have yielded $1,874 more on a $10,000 investment. Thus, EFA outperformed GLD by 0.66% annually.
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