Skip to content

GLD vs. VXUS: What’s The Difference?

The SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) and the Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund ETF Shares (VXUS) are both among the Top 100 ETFs. GLD is a SPDR State Street Global Advisors N/A fund and VXUS is a Vanguard Foreign Large Blend fund. So, what’s the difference between GLD and VXUS? And which fund is better?

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

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

TIP: Keep track of all your investments with Personal Capital. I use this amazing tool to aggregate all investments in one place and make sure I'm on track to financial freedom. Oh, and did I mention it's free? Try it out here (link to Personal Capital).

Summary

GLDVXUS
NameSPDR Gold SharesVanguard Total International Stock Index Fund ETF Shares
CategoryN/AForeign Large Blend
IssuerSPDR State Street Global AdvisorsVanguard
AUM59.26B404.73B
Avg. Return5.81%8.41%
Div. Yield0.0%2.44%
Expense Ratio0.4%0.08%

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 Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund ETF Shares (VXUS) is a Foreign Large Blend fund that is issued by Vanguard. It currently has 404.73B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 8.41% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 2.44% with an expense ratio of 0.08%.

GLD’s dividend yield is 2.44% lower than that of VXUS (0.0% vs. 2.44%). Also, GLD yielded on average 2.60% less per year over the past decade (5.81% vs. 8.41%). The expense ratio of GLD is 0.32 percentage points higher than VXUS’s (0.4% vs. 0.08%).

FYI: The best way I've found to invest in ETFs is through M1 Finance. It's free and you even get an instant line of credit! Have a look here (link to M1 Finance).

Fund Composition

Industry Exposure

GLD vs. VXUS - Industry Exposure

GLDVXUS
Technology0.0%13.07%
Industrials0.0%12.94%
Energy0.0%4.55%
Communication Services0.0%7.06%
Utilities0.0%2.94%
Healthcare0.0%9.19%
Consumer Defensive0.0%7.83%
Real Estate0.0%3.79%
Financial Services0.0%17.64%
Consumer Cyclical0.0%12.64%
Basic Materials0.0%8.37%

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 Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund ETF Shares (VXUS) has the most exposure to the Financial Services sector at 17.64%. This is followed by Technology and Industrials at 13.07% and 12.94% respectively. Real Estate (3.79%), Energy (4.55%), and Communication Services (7.06%) only make up 15.40% of the fund’s total assets.

VXUS’s mid-section with moderate exposure is comprised of Consumer Defensive, Basic Materials, Healthcare, Consumer Cyclical, and Industrials stocks at 7.83%, 8.37%, 9.19%, 12.64%, and 12.94%.

GLD is 13.07% less exposed to the Technology sector than VXUS (0.0% vs 13.07%). GLD’s exposure to Industrials and Energy stocks is 12.94% lower and 4.55% lower respectively (0.0% vs. 12.94% and 0.0% vs. 4.55%). In total, Consumer Cyclical, Financial Services, and Real Estate also make up 34.07% less of the fund’s holdings compared to VXUS (0.00% vs. 34.07%).

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%.

VXUS - Holdings

VXUS HoldingsWeight
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd1.62%
Tencent Holdings Ltd1.41%
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Ordinary Shares1.26%
Nestle SA1.1%
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd1.05%
ASML Holding NV0.86%
Roche Holding AG0.81%
Toyota Motor Corp0.67%
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE0.61%
Novartis AG0.6%

VXUS’s Top Holdings are Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Ordinary Shares, Nestle SA, and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd at 1.62%, 1.41%, 1.26%, 1.1%, and 1.05%.

ASML Holding NV (0.86%), Roche Holding AG (0.81%), and Toyota Motor Corp (0.67%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE and Novartis AG are also represented in the VXUS’s holdings at 0.61% and 0.6%.

NOTE: The easiest way to add diversification to your portfolio is to invest in real estate through Fundrise. You can become private real estate investor without the burden of property management! Check it out here (link to Fundrise).

Risk Analysis

GLDVXUS
Mean Return0.210.56
R-squared16.2198.39
Std. Deviation16.5815.12
Alpha3.910.31
Beta0.480.99
Sharpe Ratio0.120.4
Treynor Ratio1.215.14

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

The Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund ETF Shares (VXUS) has a Treynor Ratio of 5.14 with a R-squared of 98.39 and a Alpha of 0.31. Its Standard Deviation is 15.12 while VXUS’s Mean Return is 0.56. Furthermore, the fund has a Beta of 0.99 and a Sharpe Ratio of 0.4.

GLD’s Mean Return is 0.35 points lower than that of VXUS and its R-squared is 82.18 points lower. With a Standard Deviation of 16.58, GLD is slightly more volatile than VXUS. The Alpha and Beta of GLD are 3.60 points higher and 0.51 points lower than VXUS’s Alpha and Beta.

FYI: Another great way to get exposure to the real estate sector is by investing in real estate debt. Groundfloor offers fantastic short-term, high-yield bonds that can add diversification to your portfolio!

Performance

Annual Returns

GLD vs. VXUS - Annual Returns

YearGLDVXUS
202023.68%11.32%
201918.36%21.58%
2018-1.54%-14.42%
201711.41%27.52%
20168.69%4.72%
2015-11.78%-4.28%
2014-0.58%-4.17%
2013-28.09%15.16%
20125.26%18.22%
201111.2%0.0%
201027.25%0.0%

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 2017 was the strongest year for VXUS, returning 27.52% on an annual basis. The poorest year for VXUS in the last ten years was 2018, with a yield of -14.42%. Most years the Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund ETF Shares has given investors modest returns, such as in 2010, 2016, and 2020, when gains were 0.0%, 4.72%, and 11.32% respectively.

Portfolio Growth

GLD vs. VXUS - Portfolio Growth

FundInitial BalanceFinal BalanceCAGR
GLD$10,000$11,5875.81%
VXUS$10,000$19,3158.41%

A $10,000 investment in GLD would have resulted in a final balance of $11,587. This is a profit of $1,587 over 9 years and amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.81%.

With a $10,000 investment in VXUS, the end total would have been $19,315. This equates to a $9,315 profit over 9 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.41%.

GLD’s CAGR is 2.60 percentage points lower than that of VXUS and as a result, would have yielded $7,728 less on a $10,000 investment. Thus, GLD performed worse than VXUS by 2.60% annually.


Current recommendations:

Over the past years, I have discovered several tools and products that have helped me tremendously on my path to financial freedom:

P.S.: The links below are affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when you sign up for one of the services. Thank you for your support!

1)Personal Capital is simply the best tool out there to track your net worth and plan for financial freedom. Just their retirement planner alone has become an invaluable tool to keep myself on track financially. Try it out, it's free!

2) Take a look at M1 Finance, my favorite broker. I love how easy it is to invest and maintain my portfolio with them. I can set up automatic transfers, rebalance my portfolio with one click and even borrow up to 35% of my assets at super low interest rates!

3) Fundrise is by far the best way I've found to invest in Real Estate. You can diversify your portfolio by investing in their eREITs or even allocate capital to individual properties (without the hassle of managing tenants!).

4) Groundfloor is another great way to get exposure to the real estate sector by investing in short-term, high-yield real estate debt. Current returns are >10% and you can get started with just $10.

5) If you are interested in startup investing, check out Mainvest. I've started allocating a small amount of assets to invest in and support small businesses. Return targets are between 10-25% and you can start with just $100!

To see all of my most up-to-date recommendations, check out the Recommended Tools section.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.