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SPY vs. MUB: What’s The Difference?

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) and the iShares National Muni Bond ETF (MUB) are both among the Top 100 ETFs. SPY is a SPDR State Street Global Advisors Large Blend fund and MUB is a iShares Muni National Interm fund. So, what’s the difference between SPY and MUB? And which fund is better?

The expense ratio of SPY is 0.02 percentage points higher than MUB’s (0.09% vs. 0.07%). SPY also has a high exposure to the technology sector while MUB is mostly comprised of AA bonds. Overall, SPY has provided higher returns than MUB over the past ten years.

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

You can take a look at SPY vs. TQQQ for another great set of funds to own and build wealth.


NameSPDR S&P 500 ETF TrustiShares National Muni Bond ETF
CategoryLarge BlendMuni National Interm
IssuerSPDR State Street Global AdvisorsiShares
Avg. Return14.41%4.04%
Div. Yield1.3%1.96%
Expense Ratio0.09%0.07%

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is a Large Blend fund that is issued by SPDR State Street Global Advisors. It currently has 374.03B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 14.41% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 1.3% with an expense ratio of 0.09%.

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%.

Another great SPY comparison is SPY vs. PFF.

SPY’s dividend yield is 0.66% lower than that of MUB (1.3% vs. 1.96%). Also, SPY yielded on average 10.37% more per year over the past decade (14.41% vs. 4.04%). The expense ratio of SPY is 0.02 percentage points higher than MUB’s (0.09% vs. 0.07%).

Fund Composition


SPY - Holdings
SPY HoldingsWeight
Apple Inc5.9%
Microsoft Corp5.6% Inc4.05%
Facebook Inc A2.29%
Alphabet Inc A2.02%
Alphabet Inc Class C1.96%
Berkshire Hathaway Inc Class B1.45%
Tesla Inc1.44%
NVIDIA Corp1.37%
JPMorgan Chase & Co1.29%

SPY’s Top Holdings are Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Inc, Facebook Inc A, and Alphabet Inc A at 5.9%, 5.6%, 4.05%, 2.29%, and 2.02%.

I have a related article on SPY vs. TIP.

Alphabet Inc Class C (1.96%), Berkshire Hathaway Inc Class B (1.45%), and Tesla Inc (1.44%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. NVIDIA Corp and JPMorgan Chase & Co are also represented in the SPY’s holdings at 1.37% and 1.29%.

MUB - Holdings
MUB Bond SectorsWeight
Below 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.

Risk Analysis

Mean Return1.230.32
Std. Deviation13.563.68
Sharpe Ratio1.040.88
Treynor Ratio14.123.2

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) has a Mean Return of 1.23 with a Beta of 1 and a Treynor Ratio of 14.12. Its Standard Deviation is 13.56 while SPY’s R-squared is 100. Furthermore, the fund has a Sharpe Ratio of 1.04 and a Alpha of -0.09.

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

If you still want to see how SPY stacks up to other competition check out SPY v. ARKK.

SPY’s Mean Return is 0.91 points higher than that of MUB and its R-squared is 1.00 points higher. With a Standard Deviation of 13.56, SPY is slightly more volatile than MUB. The Alpha and Beta of SPY are 0.37 points higher and 0.01 points lower than MUB’s Alpha and Beta.


Annual Returns

SPY vs. MUB - Annual Returns

SPY had its best year in 2013 with an annual return of 32.21%. SPY’s worst year over the past decade yielded -4.45% and occurred in 2018. In most years the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust provided moderate returns such as in 2014, 2010, and 2012 where annual returns amounted to 13.53%, 14.93%, and 15.84% 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

SPY vs. MUB - Portfolio Growth
FundInitial BalanceFinal BalanceCAGR

A $10,000 investment in SPY would have resulted in a final balance of $41,712. This is a profit of $31,712 over 11 years and amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.41%.

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%.

See SPY vs. XFL if you want to add more ETF’s to your portfolio.

SPY’s CAGR is 10.37 percentage points higher than that of MUB and as a result, would have yielded $26,379 more on a $10,000 investment. Thus, SPY outperformed MUB by 10.37% annually.

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