IXUS vs. IAU: What’s The Difference?

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

The expense ratio of IXUS is 0.16 percentage points lower than IAU’s (0.09% vs. 0.25%). IXUS also has a higher exposure to the financial services sector and a lower standard deviation. Overall, IXUS has provided higher returns than IAU over the past ten years.

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

Summary

IXUS IAU
Name iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF iShares Gold Trust
Category Foreign Large Blend N/A
Issuer iShares iShares
AUM 29.54B 28.61B
Avg. Return 6.09% 6.03%
Div. Yield 2.13% 0.0%
Expense Ratio 0.09% 0.25%

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 Gold Trust (IAU) is a N/A fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 28.61B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 6.03% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 0.0% with an expense ratio of 0.25%.

IXUS’s dividend yield is 2.13% higher than that of IAU (2.13% vs. 0.0%). Also, IXUS yielded on average 0.05% more per year over the past decade (6.09% vs. 6.03%). The expense ratio of IXUS is 0.16 percentage points lower than IAU’s (0.09% vs. 0.25%).

Fund Composition

Industry Exposure

IXUS vs. IAU - Industry Exposure

IXUS IAU
Technology 13.24% 0.0%
Industrials 12.78% 0.0%
Energy 4.39% 0.0%
Communication Services 7.09% 0.0%
Utilities 2.95% 0.0%
Healthcare 9.29% 0.0%
Consumer Defensive 8.19% 0.0%
Real Estate 3.66% 0.0%
Financial Services 17.34% 0.0%
Consumer Cyclical 12.57% 0.0%
Basic Materials 8.5% 0.0%

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 Gold Trust (IAU) 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.

IAU’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%.

IXUS is 17.34% more exposed to the Financial Services sector than IAU (17.34% vs 0.0%). IXUS’s exposure to Technology and Industrials stocks is 13.24% higher and 12.78% higher respectively (13.24% vs. 0.0% and 12.78% vs. 0.0%). In total, Real Estate, Energy, and Communication Services also make up 15.14% more of the fund’s holdings compared to IAU (15.14% vs. 0.00%).

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%.

IAU - Holdings

IAU Holdings Weight
Gold 100.0%
N/A 0%
N/A 0%
N/A 0%
N/A 0%
N/A 0%
N/A 0%
N/A 0%
N/A 0%
N/A 0%

IAU’s Top Holdings are Gold, 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 IAU’s holdings at 0% and 0%.

Risk Analysis

IXUS IAU
Mean Return 0 0.23
R-squared 0 16.03
Std. Deviation 0 16.97
Alpha 0 4.16
Beta 0 0.48
Sharpe Ratio 0 0.13
Treynor Ratio 0 1.5

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

The iShares Gold Trust (IAU) has a Sharpe Ratio of 0.13 with a Treynor Ratio of 1.5 and a Mean Return of 0.23. Its Alpha is 4.16 while IAU’s Standard Deviation is 16.97. Furthermore, the fund has a Beta of 0.48 and a R-squared of 16.03.

IXUS’s Mean Return is 0.23 points lower than that of IAU and its R-squared is 16.03 points lower. With a Standard Deviation of 0, IXUS is slightly less volatile than IAU. The Alpha and Beta of IXUS are 4.16 points lower and 0.48 points lower than IAU’s Alpha and Beta.

Performance

Annual Returns

IXUS vs. IAU - Annual Returns

Year IXUS IAU
2020 11.14% 23.86%
2019 21.85% 18.54%
2018 -14.55% -1.39%
2017 28.08% 11.58%
2016 4.66% 8.85%
2015 -4.62% -11.65%
2014 -3.96% -0.44%
2013 15.85% -27.96%
2012 0.0% 8.37%
2011 0.0% 8.66%
2010 0.0% 27.93%

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 2010 was the strongest year for IAU, returning 27.93% on an annual basis. The poorest year for IAU in the last ten years was 2013, with a yield of -27.96%. Most years the iShares Gold Trust has given investors modest returns, such as in 2012, 2011, and 2016, when gains were 8.37%, 8.66%, and 8.85% respectively.

Portfolio Growth

IXUS vs. IAU - Portfolio Growth

Fund Initial Balance Final Balance CAGR
IXUS $10,000 $14,209 6.09%
IAU $10,000 $15,467 6.03%

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 IAU, the end total would have been $15,467. This equates to a $5,467 profit over 7 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.03%.

IXUS’s CAGR is 0.05 percentage points higher than that of IAU and as a result, would have yielded $1,258 less on a $10,000 investment. Thus, IXUS outperformed IAU by 0.05% annually.


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