IXUS vs. ACWI: What’s The Difference?

The iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF (IXUS) and the iShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI) are both among the Top 100 ETFs. IXUS is a iShares Foreign Large Blend fund and ACWI is a iShares N/A fund. So, what’s the difference between IXUS and ACWI? And which fund is better?

The expense ratio of IXUS is 0.23 percentage points lower than ACWI’s (0.09% vs. 0.32%). IXUS also has a higher exposure to the financial services sector and a lower standard deviation. Overall, IXUS has provided lower returns than ACWI over the past ten years.

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

Summary

IXUS ACWI
Name iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF iShares MSCI ACWI ETF
Category Foreign Large Blend N/A
Issuer iShares iShares
AUM 29.54B 16.85B
Avg. Return 6.09% 10.21%
Div. Yield 2.13% 1.39%
Expense Ratio 0.09% 0.32%

The iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF (IXUS) is a Foreign Large Blend fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 29.54B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 6.09% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 2.13% with an expense ratio of 0.09%.

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%.

IXUS’s dividend yield is 0.74% higher than that of ACWI (2.13% vs. 1.39%). Also, IXUS yielded on average 4.13% less per year over the past decade (6.09% vs. 10.21%). The expense ratio of IXUS is 0.23 percentage points lower than ACWI’s (0.09% vs. 0.32%).

Fund Composition

Industry Exposure

IXUS vs. ACWI - Industry Exposure

IXUS ACWI
Technology 13.24% 20.41%
Industrials 12.78% 9.65%
Energy 4.39% 3.48%
Communication Services 7.09% 9.87%
Utilities 2.95% 2.61%
Healthcare 9.29% 11.74%
Consumer Defensive 8.19% 7.15%
Real Estate 3.66% 2.75%
Financial Services 17.34% 15.58%
Consumer Cyclical 12.57% 12.01%
Basic Materials 8.5% 4.73%

The iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF (IXUS) has the most exposure to the Financial Services sector at 17.34%. This is followed by Technology and Industrials at 13.24% and 12.78% respectively. Real Estate (3.66%), Energy (4.39%), and Communication Services (7.09%) only make up 15.14% of the fund’s total assets.

IXUS’s mid-section with moderate exposure is comprised of Consumer Defensive, Basic Materials, Healthcare, Consumer Cyclical, and Industrials stocks at 8.19%, 8.5%, 9.29%, 12.57%, and 12.78%.

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%.

IXUS is 1.76% more exposed to the Financial Services sector than ACWI (17.34% vs 15.58%). IXUS’s exposure to Technology and Industrials stocks is 7.17% lower and 3.13% higher respectively (13.24% vs. 20.41% and 12.78% vs. 9.65%). In total, Real Estate, Energy, and Communication Services also make up 0.96% less of the fund’s holdings compared to ACWI (15.14% vs. 16.10%).

Holdings

IXUS - Holdings

IXUS Holdings Weight
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd 1.64%
Tencent Holdings Ltd 1.35%
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Ordinary Shares 1.34%
Nestle SA 1.1%
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd 1.06%
ASML Holding NV 0.9%
Roche Holding AG 0.81%
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE 0.67%
Novartis AG 0.62%
Toyota Motor Corp 0.59%

IXUS’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 1.64%, 1.35%, 1.34%, 1.1%, and 1.06%.

ASML Holding NV (0.9%), Roche Holding AG (0.81%), and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (0.67%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. Novartis AG and Toyota Motor Corp are also represented in the IXUS’s holdings at 0.62% and 0.59%.

ACWI - Holdings

ACWI Holdings Weight
Apple Inc 3.44%
Microsoft Corp 2.91%
Amazon.com Inc 2.21%
Facebook Inc A 1.25%
Alphabet Inc Class C 1.12%
Alphabet Inc A 1.09%
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd 0.79%
Tesla Inc 0.78%
NVIDIA Corp 0.74%
JPMorgan Chase & Co 0.71%

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%.

Risk Analysis

IXUS ACWI
Mean Return 0 0.89
R-squared 0 99.96
Std. Deviation 0 14.05
Alpha 0 0.15
Beta 0 1
Sharpe Ratio 0 0.71
Treynor Ratio 0 9.45

The iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF (IXUS) has a Sharpe Ratio of 0 with a Treynor Ratio of 0 and a Alpha of 0. Its R-squared is 0 while IXUS’s Standard Deviation is 0. Furthermore, the fund has a Beta of 0 and a Mean Return of 0.

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 Beta is 1 while ACWI’s Mean Return is 0.89. Furthermore, the fund has a Standard Deviation of 14.05 and a Treynor Ratio of 9.45.

IXUS’s Mean Return is 0.89 points lower than that of ACWI and its R-squared is 99.96 points lower. With a Standard Deviation of 0, IXUS is slightly less volatile than ACWI. The Alpha and Beta of IXUS are 0.15 points lower and 1.00 points lower than ACWI’s Alpha and Beta.

Performance

Annual Returns

IXUS vs. ACWI - Annual Returns

Year IXUS ACWI
2020 11.14% 16.38%
2019 21.85% 26.7%
2018 -14.55% -9.15%
2017 28.08% 24.35%
2016 4.66% 8.22%
2015 -4.62% -2.39%
2014 -3.96% 4.64%
2013 15.85% 22.91%
2012 0.0% 15.99%
2011 0.0% -7.6%
2010 0.0% 12.31%

IXUS had its best year in 2017 with an annual return of 28.08%. IXUS’s worst year over the past decade yielded -14.55% and occurred in 2018. In most years the iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF provided moderate returns such as in 2011, 2010, and 2016 where annual returns amounted to 0.0%, 0.0%, and 4.66% 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

IXUS vs. ACWI - Portfolio Growth

Fund Initial Balance Final Balance CAGR
IXUS $10,000 $14,209 6.09%
ACWI $10,000 $18,413 10.21%

A $10,000 investment in IXUS would have resulted in a final balance of $14,209. This is a profit of $4,209 over 7 years and amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.09%.

With a $10,000 investment in ACWI, the end total would have been $18,413. This equates to a $8,413 profit over 7 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.21%.

IXUS’s CAGR is 4.13 percentage points lower than that of ACWI and as a result, would have yielded $4,204 less on a $10,000 investment. Thus, IXUS performed worse than ACWI by 4.13% annually.


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