XUS vs VFV - Which is The Best S&P 500 ETF?

An S&P 500 index fund is one of the most effective investment tools for those interested in building wealth and compounding gains. However, with so many ETFs available on the market, it can be confusing to decide which one you should put your money in. Ahead, I will break down two of the most popular S&P 500 ETFs, XUS vs VFV.

XUS S&P 500 ETF Profile

Among the myriad of ETF options available, XUS emerges as a particularly noteworthy player, distinguished not only by its performance but also by its strategic positioning in the market. Allo  compelling option for investors.

Stellar Performance: The Morningstar Ratings Overview

At the heart of XUS’s appeal is its outstanding performance, as evidenced by its Morningstar ratings. As of January 31, 2024, XUS boasts an impressive overall rating of 5 out of 5 Stars, a testament to its exceptional performance across various time horizons. Specifically, the ETF has secured a 4 out of 5 Stars rating for both the 3 and 5-year metrics, and an exemplary 5 out of 5 Stars for the 10-year rating. These ratings reflect the ETF’s historical risk-adjusted performance, underscoring its ability to offer investors a balanced blend of returns and stability.

The Significance of Morningstar Ratings

For those unfamiliar, Morningstar ratings are a widely respected benchmark in the investment community, offering a quantitative assessment of a fund’s past performance, adjusted for risk and compared against its peers. A high rating from Morningstar is indicative of an investment that has consistently outperformed, providing both robust returns and a degree of reliability. Thus, XUS’s ratings speak volumes about its standing in the competitive ETF landscape.

Understanding the Ratings

The overall Morningstar rating for a fund is derived from a weighted average of the fund’s performance over 3, 5, and 10 years, taking into account the risk-adjusted return of each period. This comprehensive approach ensures that the ratings provide a holistic view of a fund’s long-term viability and performance consistency. For XUS, the strong ratings across all time horizons highlight its sustained excellence and potential for future growth.

The Role of Style Box

An interesting aspect of the Morningstar analysis is the Style Box, which is calculated solely based on the long position holdings of the portfolio. While specific details on XUS’s Style Box were not provided, this tool typically offers investors a quick visual representation of a fund’s investment strategy, focusing on factors like market capitalization and value versus growth orientation. This insight can be invaluable for investors looking to align their portfolio with their investment preferences and risk tolerance.


XUS stands out as a shining example of what a well-managed ETF can achieve. Its stellar Morningstar ratings across multiple time horizons reflect a proven track record of success, offering a blend of reliability, performance, and strategic investment opportunities. For investors seeking to diversify their portfolios or those looking for a solid entry point into the world of ETFs, XUS represents a compelling choice.

VFV S&P 500 ETF Profile

The Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF (VFV) stands as a formidable option for investors aiming to harness the growth potential of large-capitalization U.S. stocks. By seeking to track the S&P 500 Index, VFV offers an efficient and cost-effective way to gain exposure to a broad spectrum of U.S. companies. This blog post delves into the performance, strategy, and fundamental characteristics of VFV, drawing insights from its latest factsheet as of January 31, 2024.

Investment Objective and Strategy

VFV’s primary goal is to mirror the performance of the S&P 500 Index, which represents the investment return of large-cap U.S. stocks, to the extent reasonably possible and before fees and expenses. The fund employs a passive investment strategy, either investing directly in the stocks that comprise the index or indirectly through other methods. This approach minimizes costs while aiming to replicate the index’s performance as closely as possible.

Performance Highlights

VFV has demonstrated notable performance over the years, showcasing its ability to deliver solid returns to investors. The ETF’s net asset value (NAV) return has been impressive, with a year-to-date return of 3.09% and a 1-year return of 21.65% as of January 31, 2024. Over longer periods, VFV has maintained robust growth, with 3-year, 5-year, and 10-year NAV returns of 12.51%, 14.42%, and 14.33% respectively, alongside a since-inception return of 16.36%. These returns highlight VFV’s strong track record in capturing the growth of the U.S. equity market.

Cost Efficiency

One of VFV’s key advantages is its cost efficiency, a hallmark of Vanguard’s investment products. The ETF boasts a low management expense ratio (MER) of 0.09%, including waivers and absorptions as of June 30, 2023. This low cost structure ensures that a greater portion of investment returns is passed on to investors, reinforcing VFV’s attractiveness for those seeking an efficient way to invest in the U.S. equity market.

Sector Weightings and Top Holdings

VFV’s investment portfolio mirrors the sector composition of the S&P 500 Index, with significant allocations to Information Technology, Financials, Health Care, and Consumer Discretionary sectors. As of January 31, 2024, the ETF’s top holdings include leading companies such as Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc., NVIDIA Corp., and Amazon.com Inc., constituting 32.5% of its net asset value. This diversified sector allocation and focus on top-performing companies underscore VFV’s strategy to capture the breadth and dynamism of the U.S. economy.

ETF Characteristics

VFV is characterized by its broad exposure to the U.S. stock market, with 505 stocks in its portfolio mirroring the index’s composition. The ETF’s median market cap is $278.2 billion, with a price/earnings ratio of 24.2x and a price/book ratio of 4.3x. Such metrics reflect the ETF’s investment in high-quality companies with strong earnings potential. Additionally, VFV offers an equity yield (dividend) of 1.4%, providing investors with a source of income alongside capital appreciation.


The Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF (VFV) presents a compelling investment opportunity for those looking to gain broad exposure to the U.S. equity market. With its strong performance track record, low cost structure, and strategic sector allocations, VFV is well-positioned to serve as a cornerstone in diversified investment portfolios. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or new to the market, VFV offers a straightforward and efficient way to invest in the growth of America’s largest companies.

Comparing XUS vs VFV

This blog post delves into a comparative analysis of XUS and VFV, exploring their objectives, performance, fees, and other key features to help investors make informed decisions.

Investment Objectives and Strategy

XUS aims to replicate, to the extent possible, the performance of the S&P 500 Index, net of expenses. The ETF seeks to provide long-term capital growth by investing in U.S. stocks represented in the index.

VFV, similarly, strives to track the performance of the S&P 500 Index, before fees and expenses, focusing on large-capitalization U.S. stocks. It invests directly or indirectly in the stocks comprising the index.

Both ETFs adopt a passive investment strategy, aiming to mirror the performance of the S&P 500 Index, making them suitable for investors seeking exposure to a broad range of U.S. equities without actively managing their investments.


The performance of an ETF is a critical factor for investors. As of the latest available data:

  • XUS has demonstrated robust performance with a stellar overall Morningstar rating of 5 out of 5 stars, reflecting its historical risk-adjusted performance across various time horizons.

  • VFV also boasts impressive returns, with a year-to-date NAV return of 3.09% and a 1-year return of 21.65% as of January 31, 2024. Its long-term performance is solid, with a since-inception return of 16.36%.

Both ETFs have shown strong performance over the years, capturing the growth of the U.S. equity market effectively. However, investors should consider their investment horizon and risk tolerance when comparing these ETFs, as past performance is not indicative of future results.

Fees and Expenses

Cost is an essential consideration for ETF investors, as lower fees can significantly impact long-term returns.

  • XUS‘s fee structure was not specified in the provided data, but iShares ETFs are known for their competitive management fees, aimed at providing cost-effective investment solutions.

  • VFV has an extremely low management expense ratio (MER) of 0.09%, which is among the lowest in the industry, making it an attractive option for cost-conscious investors.

The low-cost nature of VFV is a compelling feature, especially for investors planning to hold the ETF for a long duration.

Sector Weightings and Top Holdings

Both XUS and VFV mirror the sector allocations of the S&P 500 Index, with significant exposure to Information Technology, Financials, Health Care, and Consumer Discretionary sectors. This diversification helps mitigate risk by spreading investments across various sectors.

Regarding top holdings, both ETFs invest in major companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet, reflecting the composition of the S&P 500 Index. The similarity in sector weightings and top holdings underscores the ETFs’ objective to replicate the index’s performance as closely as possible.

Liquidity and Accessibility

Both XUS and VFV are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), offering high liquidity and ease of access for Canadian investors. This feature allows investors to buy and sell shares of the ETFs throughout the trading day at market prices.

Final Thoughts on XUS vs VFV

XUS and VFV are both excellent options for investors looking to gain exposure to the U.S. equity market through the S&P 500 Index. While their objectives and strategies are similar, differences in fees, performance history, and potentially other subtle nuances may sway investors’ preferences based on their specific investment goals, cost sensitivity, and portfolio needs.

Ultimately, the choice between XUS and VFV should align with the investor’s financial objectives, investment horizon, and risk tolerance. Both ETFs offer a straightforward and efficient way to participate in the growth of the U.S. economy, making them valuable components of a diversified investment portfolio.

If you’re ready to take the next step towards securing your financial future, contact me for a free consultation.

About The Author

Neha Singla (CSC, CPH) is an associate financial planner in Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada. She has millions of dollars under management, and helps her clients plan their finances, investments, taxes, and retirement.