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GLD vs. MUB: What’s The Difference?

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

The expense ratio of GLD is 0.33 percentage points higher than MUB’s (0.4% vs. 0.07%). GLD also has a high exposure to the technology sector while MUB is mostly comprised of AA bonds. Overall, GLD has provided higher returns than MUB over the past ten years.

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

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Summary

GLDMUB
NameSPDR Gold SharesiShares National Muni Bond ETF
CategoryN/AMuni National Interm
IssuerSPDR State Street Global AdvisorsiShares
AUM59.26B22.71B
Avg. Return5.81%4.04%
Div. Yield0.0%1.96%
Expense Ratio0.4%0.07%

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 National Muni Bond ETF (MUB) is a Muni National Interm fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 22.71B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 4.04% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 1.96% with an expense ratio of 0.07%.

GLD’s dividend yield is 1.96% lower than that of MUB (0.0% vs. 1.96%). Also, GLD yielded on average 1.77% more per year over the past decade (5.81% vs. 4.04%). The expense ratio of GLD is 0.33 percentage points higher than MUB’s (0.4% vs. 0.07%).

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Fund Composition

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%.

MUB - Holdings

MUB Bond SectorsWeight
AA60.38%
AAA18.39%
A15.04%
BBB6.0%
Others0.17%
BB0.02%
Below B0.0%
B0.0%
US Government0.0%

MUB’s Top Bond Sectors are ratings of AA, AAA, A, BBB, and Others at 60.38%, 18.39%, 15.04%, 6.0%, and 0.17%. The fund is less weighted towards BB (0.02%), Below B (0.0%), and B (0.0%) rated bonds.

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Risk Analysis

GLDMUB
Mean Return0.210.32
R-squared16.2199
Std. Deviation16.583.68
Alpha3.91-0.46
Beta0.481.01
Sharpe Ratio0.120.88
Treynor Ratio1.213.2

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

The iShares National Muni Bond ETF (MUB) has a Mean Return of 0.32 with a R-squared of 99 and a Standard Deviation of 3.68. Its Alpha is -0.46 while MUB’s Beta is 1.01. Furthermore, the fund has a Treynor Ratio of 3.2 and a Sharpe Ratio of 0.88.

GLD’s Mean Return is 0.11 points lower than that of MUB and its R-squared is 82.79 points lower. With a Standard Deviation of 16.58, GLD is slightly more volatile than MUB. The Alpha and Beta of GLD are 4.37 points higher and 0.53 points lower than MUB’s Alpha and Beta.

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Performance

Annual Returns

GLD vs. MUB - Annual Returns

YearGLDMUB
202023.68%4.87%
201918.36%7.28%
2018-1.54%0.86%
201711.41%4.61%
20168.69%0.06%
2015-11.78%2.99%
2014-0.58%8.61%
2013-28.09%-3.26%
20125.26%6.14%
201111.2%10.85%
201027.25%1.4%

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 2011 was the strongest year for MUB, returning 10.85% on an annual basis. The poorest year for MUB in the last ten years was 2013, with a yield of -3.26%. Most years the iShares National Muni Bond ETF has given investors modest returns, such as in 2015, 2017, and 2020, when gains were 2.99%, 4.61%, and 4.87% respectively.

Portfolio Growth

GLD vs. MUB - Portfolio Growth

FundInitial BalanceFinal BalanceCAGR
GLD$10,000$16,3955.81%
MUB$10,000$15,3334.04%

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 MUB, the end total would have been $15,333. This equates to a $5,333 profit over 11 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.04%.

GLD’s CAGR is 1.77 percentage points higher than that of MUB and as a result, would have yielded $1,062 more on a $10,000 investment. Thus, GLD outperformed MUB by 1.77% annually.


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