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GLD vs. ACWI: What’s The Difference?

The SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) and the iShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI) are both among the Top 100 ETFs. GLD is a SPDR State Street Global Advisors N/A fund and ACWI is a iShares N/A fund. So, what’s the difference between GLD and ACWI? And which fund is better?

The expense ratio of GLD is 0.08 percentage points higher than ACWI’s (0.4% vs. 0.32%). GLD also has a lower exposure to the technology sector and a higher standard deviation. Overall, GLD has provided lower returns than ACWI over the past ten years.

In this article, we’ll compare GLD vs. ACWI. We’ll look at performance and annual returns, as well as at their industry exposure and portfolio growth. Moreover, I’ll also discuss GLD’s and ACWI’s fund composition, holdings, and risk metrics and examine how these affect their overall returns.

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Summary

GLDACWI
NameSPDR Gold SharesiShares MSCI ACWI ETF
CategoryN/AN/A
IssuerSPDR State Street Global AdvisorsiShares
AUM59.26B16.85B
Avg. Return5.81%10.21%
Div. Yield0.0%1.39%
Expense Ratio0.4%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%.

The iShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI) is a N/A fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 16.85B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 10.21% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 1.39% with an expense ratio of 0.32%.

GLD’s dividend yield is 1.39% lower than that of ACWI (0.0% vs. 1.39%). Also, GLD yielded on average 4.41% less per year over the past decade (5.81% vs. 10.21%). The expense ratio of GLD is 0.08 percentage points higher than ACWI’s (0.4% vs. 0.32%).

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Fund Composition

Industry Exposure

GLD vs. ACWI - Industry Exposure

GLDACWI
Technology0.0%20.41%
Industrials0.0%9.65%
Energy0.0%3.48%
Communication Services0.0%9.87%
Utilities0.0%2.61%
Healthcare0.0%11.74%
Consumer Defensive0.0%7.15%
Real Estate0.0%2.75%
Financial Services0.0%15.58%
Consumer Cyclical0.0%12.01%
Basic Materials0.0%4.73%

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%.

The iShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI) has the most exposure to the Technology sector at 20.41%. This is followed by Financial Services and Consumer Cyclical at 15.58% and 12.01% respectively. Real Estate (2.75%), Energy (3.48%), and Basic Materials (4.73%) only make up 10.96% of the fund’s total assets.

ACWI’s mid-section with moderate exposure is comprised of Consumer Defensive, Industrials, Communication Services, Healthcare, and Consumer Cyclical stocks at 7.15%, 9.65%, 9.87%, 11.74%, and 12.01%.

GLD is 20.41% less exposed to the Technology sector than ACWI (0.0% vs 20.41%). GLD’s exposure to Industrials and Energy stocks is 9.65% lower and 3.48% lower respectively (0.0% vs. 9.65% and 0.0% vs. 3.48%). In total, Consumer Cyclical, Financial Services, and Real Estate also make up 30.34% less of the fund’s holdings compared to ACWI (0.00% vs. 30.34%).

Holdings

GLD - Holdings

GLD HoldingsWeight
Gold Trust100.0%
N/A0%
N/A0%
N/A0%
N/A0%
N/A0%
N/A0%
N/A0%
N/A0%
N/A0%

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%.

ACWI - Holdings

ACWI HoldingsWeight
Apple Inc3.44%
Microsoft Corp2.91%
Amazon.com Inc2.21%
Facebook Inc A1.25%
Alphabet Inc Class C1.12%
Alphabet Inc A1.09%
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd0.79%
Tesla Inc0.78%
NVIDIA Corp0.74%
JPMorgan Chase & Co0.71%

ACWI’s Top Holdings are Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com Inc, Facebook Inc A, and Alphabet Inc Class C at 3.44%, 2.91%, 2.21%, 1.25%, and 1.12%.

Alphabet Inc A (1.09%), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (0.79%), and Tesla Inc (0.78%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. NVIDIA Corp and JPMorgan Chase & Co are also represented in the ACWI’s holdings at 0.74% and 0.71%.

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Risk Analysis

GLDACWI
Mean Return0.210.89
R-squared16.2199.96
Std. Deviation16.5814.05
Alpha3.910.15
Beta0.481
Sharpe Ratio0.120.71
Treynor Ratio1.219.45

The SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) has a Standard Deviation of 16.58 with a Treynor Ratio of 1.21 and a Beta of 0.48. Its Mean Return is 0.21 while GLD’s Sharpe Ratio is 0.12. Furthermore, the fund has a Alpha of 3.91 and a R-squared of 16.21.

The iShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI) has a Alpha of 0.15 with a Sharpe Ratio of 0.71 and a R-squared of 99.96. Its Treynor Ratio is 9.45 while ACWI’s Beta is 1. Furthermore, the fund has a Standard Deviation of 14.05 and a Mean Return of 0.89.

GLD’s Mean Return is 0.68 points lower than that of ACWI and its R-squared is 83.75 points lower. With a Standard Deviation of 16.58, GLD is slightly more volatile than ACWI. The Alpha and Beta of GLD are 3.76 points higher and 0.52 points lower than ACWI’s Alpha and Beta.

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Performance

Annual Returns

GLD vs. ACWI - Annual Returns

YearGLDACWI
202023.68%16.38%
201918.36%26.7%
2018-1.54%-9.15%
201711.41%24.35%
20168.69%8.22%
2015-11.78%-2.39%
2014-0.58%4.64%
2013-28.09%22.91%
20125.26%15.99%
201111.2%-7.6%
201027.25%12.31%

GLD had its best year in 2010 with an annual return of 27.25%. GLD’s worst year over the past decade yielded -28.09% and occurred in 2013. In most years the SPDR Gold Shares provided moderate returns such as in 2012, 2016, and 2011 where annual returns amounted to 5.26%, 8.69%, and 11.2% respectively.

The year 2019 was the strongest year for ACWI, returning 26.7% on an annual basis. The poorest year for ACWI in the last ten years was 2018, with a yield of -9.15%. Most years the iShares MSCI ACWI ETF has given investors modest returns, such as in 2016, 2010, and 2012, when gains were 8.22%, 12.31%, and 15.99% respectively.

Portfolio Growth

GLD vs. ACWI - Portfolio Growth

FundInitial BalanceFinal BalanceCAGR
GLD$10,000$16,3955.81%
ACWI$10,000$27,24110.21%

A $10,000 investment in GLD would have resulted in a final balance of $16,395. This is a profit of $6,395 over 11 years and amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.81%.

With a $10,000 investment in ACWI, the end total would have been $27,241. This equates to a $17,241 profit over 11 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.21%.

GLD’s CAGR is 4.41 percentage points lower than that of ACWI and as a result, would have yielded $10,846 less on a $10,000 investment. Thus, GLD performed worse than ACWI by 4.41% annually.


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