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VOO vs. EFA: What’s The Difference?

The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) and the iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA) are both among the Top 100 ETFs. VOO is a Vanguard Large Blend fund and EFA is a iShares Foreign Large Blend fund. So, what’s the difference between VOO and EFA? And which fund is better?

The expense ratio of VOO is 0.29 percentage points lower than EFA’s (0.03% vs. 0.32%). VOO also has a higher exposure to the technology sector and a lower standard deviation. Overall, VOO has provided higher returns than EFA over the past ten years.

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

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Summary

VOOEFA
NameVanguard S&P 500 ETFiShares MSCI EAFE ETF
CategoryLarge BlendForeign Large Blend
IssuerVanguardiShares
AUM753.41B56.77B
Avg. Return14.45%6.47%
Div. Yield1.34%2.28%
Expense Ratio0.03%0.32%

The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) is a Large Blend fund that is issued by Vanguard. It currently has 753.41B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 14.45% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 1.34% with an expense ratio of 0.03%.

The iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA) is a Foreign Large Blend fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 56.77B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 6.47% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 2.28% with an expense ratio of 0.32%.

VOO’s dividend yield is 0.94% lower than that of EFA (1.34% vs. 2.28%). Also, VOO yielded on average 7.98% more per year over the past decade (14.45% vs. 6.47%). The expense ratio of VOO is 0.29 percentage points lower than EFA’s (0.03% vs. 0.32%).

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Fund Composition

Industry Exposure

VOO vs. EFA - Industry Exposure

VOOEFA
Technology24.24%9.68%
Industrials8.86%15.01%
Energy2.84%3.51%
Communication Services11.14%5.68%
Utilities2.43%3.35%
Healthcare13.1%12.8%
Consumer Defensive6.32%10.56%
Real Estate2.58%3.01%
Financial Services14.2%16.88%
Consumer Cyclical12.01%11.62%
Basic Materials2.27%7.91%

The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) has the most exposure to the Technology sector at 24.24%. This is followed by Financial Services and Healthcare at 14.2% and 13.1% respectively. Utilities (2.43%), Real Estate (2.58%), and Energy (2.84%) only make up 7.85% of the fund’s total assets.

VOO’s mid-section with moderate exposure is comprised of Consumer Defensive, Industrials, Communication Services, Consumer Cyclical, and Healthcare stocks at 6.32%, 8.86%, 11.14%, 12.01%, and 13.1%.

The iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA) has the most exposure to the Financial Services sector at 16.88%. This is followed by Industrials and Healthcare at 15.01% and 12.8% respectively. Utilities (3.35%), Energy (3.51%), and Communication Services (5.68%) only make up 12.54% of the fund’s total assets.

EFA’s mid-section with moderate exposure is comprised of Basic Materials, Technology, Consumer Defensive, Consumer Cyclical, and Healthcare stocks at 7.91%, 9.68%, 10.56%, 11.62%, and 12.8%.

VOO is 14.56% more exposed to the Technology sector than EFA (24.24% vs 9.68%). VOO’s exposure to Financial Services and Healthcare stocks is 2.68% lower and 0.30% higher respectively (14.2% vs. 16.88% and 13.1% vs. 12.8%). In total, Utilities, Real Estate, and Energy also make up 2.02% less of the fund’s holdings compared to EFA (7.85% vs. 9.87%).

Holdings

VOO - Holdings

VOO HoldingsWeight
Apple Inc5.92%
Microsoft Corp5.62%
Amazon.com Inc4.06%
Facebook Inc Class A2.29%
Alphabet Inc Class A2.02%
Alphabet Inc Class C1.97%
Tesla Inc1.44%
Berkshire Hathaway Inc Class B1.44%
NVIDIA Corp1.37%
JPMorgan Chase & Co1.3%

VOO’s Top Holdings are Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com Inc, Facebook Inc Class A, and Alphabet Inc Class A at 5.92%, 5.62%, 4.06%, 2.29%, and 2.02%.

Alphabet Inc Class C (1.97%), Tesla Inc (1.44%), and Berkshire Hathaway Inc Class B (1.44%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. NVIDIA Corp and JPMorgan Chase & Co are also represented in the VOO’s holdings at 1.37% and 1.3%.

EFA - Holdings

EFA HoldingsWeight
Nestle SA2.11%
ASML Holding NV1.69%
Roche Holding AG1.55%
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE1.28%
Novartis AG1.19%
Toyota Motor Corp1.09%
AstraZeneca PLC0.92%
Unilever PLC0.9%
AIA Group Ltd0.88%
SAP SE0.86%

EFA’s Top Holdings are Nestle SA, ASML Holding NV, Roche Holding AG, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, and Novartis AG at 2.11%, 1.69%, 1.55%, 1.28%, and 1.19%.

Toyota Motor Corp (1.09%), AstraZeneca PLC (0.92%), and Unilever PLC (0.9%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. AIA Group Ltd and SAP SE are also represented in the EFA’s holdings at 0.88% and 0.86%.

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Performance

Annual Returns

VOO vs. EFA - Annual Returns

YearVOOEFA
202018.35%7.92%
201931.46%21.94%
2018-4.42%-13.83%
201721.78%24.94%
201611.93%0.96%
20151.35%-0.9%
201413.63%-5.04%
201332.33%22.62%
201215.98%17.22%
20112.09%-12.18%
20100.0%7.52%

VOO had its best year in 2013 with an annual return of 32.33%. VOO’s worst year over the past decade yielded -4.42% and occurred in 2018. In most years the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF provided moderate returns such as in 2016, 2014, and 2012 where annual returns amounted to 11.93%, 13.63%, and 15.98% respectively.

The year 2017 was the strongest year for EFA, returning 24.94% on an annual basis. The poorest year for EFA in the last ten years was 2018, with a yield of -13.83%. Most years the iShares MSCI EAFE ETF has given investors modest returns, such as in 2016, 2010, and 2020, when gains were 0.96%, 7.52%, and 7.92% respectively.

Portfolio Growth

VOO vs. EFA - Portfolio Growth

FundInitial BalanceFinal BalanceCAGR
VOO$10,000$36,57514.45%
EFA$10,000$16,9916.47%

A $10,000 investment in VOO would have resulted in a final balance of $36,575. This is a profit of $26,575 over 10 years and amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.45%.

With a $10,000 investment in EFA, the end total would have been $16,991. This equates to a $6,991 profit over 10 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.47%.

VOO’s CAGR is 7.98 percentage points higher than that of EFA and as a result, would have yielded $19,584 more on a $10,000 investment. Thus, VOO outperformed EFA by 7.98% annually.


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