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XLK vs. MBB: What’s The Difference?

The Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK) and the iShares MBS ETF (MBB) are both among the Top 100 ETFs. XLK is a SPDR State Street Global Advisors Technology fund and MBB is a iShares Intermediate Government fund. So, what’s the difference between XLK and MBB? And which fund is better?

The expense ratio of XLK is 0.06 percentage points higher than MBB’s (0.12% vs. 0.06%). XLK also has a high exposure to the technology sector while MBB is mostly comprised of AAA bonds. Overall, XLK has provided higher returns than MBB over the past ten years.

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


NameTechnology Select Sector SPDR FundiShares MBS ETF
CategoryTechnologyIntermediate Government
IssuerSPDR State Street Global AdvisorsiShares
Avg. Return20.02%3.08%
Div. Yield0.73%1.88%
Expense Ratio0.12%0.06%

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%.

The iShares MBS ETF (MBB) is a Intermediate Government fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 25.69B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 3.08% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 1.88% with an expense ratio of 0.06%.

XLK’s dividend yield is 1.15% lower than that of MBB (0.73% vs. 1.88%). Also, XLK yielded on average 16.95% more per year over the past decade (20.02% vs. 3.08%). The expense ratio of XLK is 0.06 percentage points higher than MBB’s (0.12% vs. 0.06%).

Fund Composition


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% 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 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%.

MBB - Holdings

MBB Bond SectorsWeight
Below B0.0%
US Government0.0%

MBB’s Top Bond Sectors are ratings of AAA, Others, Below B, B, and BB at 99.51%, 0.49%, 0.0%, 0.0%, and 0.0%. The fund is less weighted towards BBB (0.0%), A (0.0%), and AA (0.0%) rated bonds.

Risk Analysis

Mean Return1.70.2
Std. Deviation15.582.12
Sharpe Ratio1.270.87
Treynor Ratio21.443.02

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

The iShares MBS ETF (MBB) has a Alpha of 0.14 with a R-squared of 74.38 and a Sharpe Ratio of 0.87. Its Mean Return is 0.2 while MBB’s Beta is 0.6. Furthermore, the fund has a Treynor Ratio of 3.02 and a Standard Deviation of 2.12.

XLK’s Mean Return is 1.50 points higher than that of MBB and its R-squared is 0.82 points lower. With a Standard Deviation of 15.58, XLK is slightly more volatile than MBB. The Alpha and Beta of XLK are 10.29 points higher and 0.35 points higher than MBB’s Alpha and Beta.


Annual Returns

XLK vs. MBB - Annual Returns


XLK had its best year in 2019 with an annual return of 49.97%. XLK’s worst year over the past decade yielded -1.56% and occurred in 2018. In most years the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund provided moderate returns such as in 2016, 2012, and 2014 where annual returns amounted to 14.81%, 15.47%, and 17.75% respectively.

The year 2019 was the strongest year for MBB, returning 6.27% on an annual basis. The poorest year for MBB in the last ten years was 2013, with a yield of -1.92%. Most years the iShares MBS ETF has given investors modest returns, such as in 2012, 2017, and 2020, when gains were 2.23%, 2.37%, and 4.03% respectively.

Portfolio Growth

XLK vs. MBB - Portfolio Growth

FundInitial BalanceFinal BalanceCAGR

A $10,000 investment in XLK would have resulted in a final balance of $67,790. This is a profit of $57,790 over 11 years and amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.02%.

With a $10,000 investment in MBB, the end total would have been $13,906. This equates to a $3,906 profit over 11 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.08%.

XLK’s CAGR is 16.95 percentage points higher than that of MBB and as a result, would have yielded $53,884 more on a $10,000 investment. Thus, XLK outperformed MBB by 16.95% annually.

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