Skip to content

VXUS vs. XLK: What’s The Difference?

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

The expense ratio of VXUS is 0.04 percentage points lower than XLK’s (0.08% vs. 0.12%). VXUS also has a higher exposure to the financial services sector and a lower standard deviation. Overall, VXUS has provided lower returns than XLK over the past ten years.

In this article, we’ll compare VXUS vs. XLK. We’ll look at risk metrics and industry exposure, as well as at their fund composition and portfolio growth. Moreover, I’ll also discuss VXUS’s and XLK’s holdings, performance, 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

VXUSXLK
NameVanguard Total International Stock Index Fund ETF SharesTechnology Select Sector SPDR Fund
CategoryForeign Large BlendTechnology
IssuerVanguardSPDR State Street Global Advisors
AUM404.73B42.3B
Avg. Return8.41%20.02%
Div. Yield2.44%0.73%
Expense Ratio0.08%0.12%

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%.

The Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK) is a Technology fund that is issued by SPDR State Street Global Advisors. It currently has 42.3B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 20.02% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 0.73% with an expense ratio of 0.12%.

VXUS’s dividend yield is 1.71% higher than that of XLK (2.44% vs. 0.73%). Also, VXUS yielded on average 11.62% less per year over the past decade (8.41% vs. 20.02%). The expense ratio of VXUS is 0.04 percentage points lower than XLK’s (0.08% vs. 0.12%).

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

VXUS vs. XLK - Industry Exposure

VXUSXLK
Technology13.07%87.54%
Industrials12.94%1.75%
Energy4.55%0.0%
Communication Services7.06%0.0%
Utilities2.94%0.0%
Healthcare9.19%0.0%
Consumer Defensive7.83%0.0%
Real Estate3.79%0.0%
Financial Services17.64%10.71%
Consumer Cyclical12.64%0.0%
Basic Materials8.37%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%.

The Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK) has the most exposure to the Technology sector at 87.54%. This is followed by Financial Services and Industrials at 10.71% and 1.75% respectively. Consumer Cyclical (0.0%), Real Estate (0.0%), and Consumer Defensive (0.0%) only make up 0.00% of the fund’s total assets.

XLK’s mid-section with moderate exposure is comprised of Healthcare, Utilities, Communication Services, Energy, and Industrials stocks at 0.0%, 0.0%, 0.0%, 0.0%, and 1.75%.

VXUS is 6.93% more exposed to the Financial Services sector than XLK (17.64% vs 10.71%). VXUS’s exposure to Technology and Industrials stocks is 74.47% lower and 11.19% higher respectively (13.07% vs. 87.54% and 12.94% vs. 1.75%). In total, Real Estate, Energy, and Communication Services also make up 15.40% more of the fund’s holdings compared to XLK (15.40% vs. 0.00%).

Holdings

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%.

XLK - Holdings

XLK HoldingsWeight
Apple Inc21.45%
Microsoft Corp20.37%
NVIDIA Corp4.98%
Visa Inc Class A3.95%
PayPal Holdings Inc3.42%
Mastercard Inc A3.19%
Adobe Inc2.8%
Salesforce.com Inc2.26%
Intel Corp2.26%
Cisco Systems Inc2.23%

XLK’s Top Holdings are Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, NVIDIA Corp, Visa Inc Class A, and PayPal Holdings Inc at 21.45%, 20.37%, 4.98%, 3.95%, and 3.42%.

Mastercard Inc A (3.19%), Adobe Inc (2.8%), and Salesforce.com Inc (2.26%) have a slightly smaller but still significant weight. Intel Corp and Cisco Systems Inc are also represented in the XLK’s holdings at 2.26% and 2.23%.

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

VXUSXLK
Mean Return0.561.7
R-squared98.3973.56
Std. Deviation15.1215.58
Alpha0.3110.43
Beta0.990.95
Sharpe Ratio0.41.27
Treynor Ratio5.1421.44

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

The Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK) has a Alpha of 10.43 with a Standard Deviation of 15.58 and a Mean Return of 1.7. Its Beta is 0.95 while XLK’s Sharpe Ratio is 1.27. Furthermore, the fund has a R-squared of 73.56 and a Treynor Ratio of 21.44.

VXUS’s Mean Return is 1.14 points lower than that of XLK and its R-squared is 24.83 points higher. With a Standard Deviation of 15.12, VXUS is slightly less volatile than XLK. The Alpha and Beta of VXUS are 10.12 points lower and 0.04 points higher than XLK’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

VXUS vs. XLK - Annual Returns

YearVXUSXLK
202011.32%43.67%
201921.58%49.97%
2018-14.42%-1.56%
201727.52%34.27%
20164.72%14.81%
2015-4.28%5.62%
2014-4.17%17.75%
201315.16%25.98%
201218.22%15.47%
20110.0%2.69%
20100.0%11.6%

VXUS had its best year in 2017 with an annual return of 27.52%. VXUS’s worst year over the past decade yielded -14.42% and occurred in 2018. In most years the Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund ETF Shares provided moderate returns such as in 2010, 2016, and 2020 where annual returns amounted to 0.0%, 4.72%, and 11.32% respectively.

The year 2019 was the strongest year for XLK, returning 49.97% on an annual basis. The poorest year for XLK in the last ten years was 2018, with a yield of -1.56%. Most years the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund has given investors modest returns, such as in 2016, 2012, and 2014, when gains were 14.81%, 15.47%, and 17.75% respectively.

Portfolio Growth

VXUS vs. XLK - Portfolio Growth

FundInitial BalanceFinal BalanceCAGR
VXUS$10,000$19,3158.41%
XLK$10,000$59,15320.02%

A $10,000 investment in VXUS would have resulted in a final balance of $19,315. This is a profit of $9,315 over 9 years and amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.41%.

With a $10,000 investment in XLK, the end total would have been $59,153. This equates to a $49,153 profit over 9 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.02%.

VXUS’s CAGR is 11.62 percentage points lower than that of XLK and as a result, would have yielded $39,838 less on a $10,000 investment. Thus, VXUS performed worse than XLK by 11.62% 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.