ETF Battles: GLD vs. GDX, who wins?

This is an excerpt from ETF Battles on ETFguide TV between GLD vs. GDX – two of the most popular gold ETFs by assets and trading volume.  Who wins the battle?

  • GLD and GDX duke it out in four key battle categories, including cost, performance and a mystery category.
  • Over the past decade, the performance for both funds has underwhelmed.
  • Neither gold ETF has acted like a “safety haven.”

In our latest ETF Battles, Ron DeLegge at ETFguide referees a duel between the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) and the Van Eck Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) with David Kreinces at ETF Portfolio Management and Mike Akins at ETF Action judging the battle. Just one ETF can win this battle and each fund is pitted against the other in four battle categories.

Ron Delegge: Hi there, everybody, I’m Ron DeLegge. Welcome to ETF Battles, where it’s okay to talk smack, so long as you can defend yourself. Today’s ETF Battle is smack dab centered in the middle of the gold market. We’ve got the SPDR Gold Shares, ticker symbol GLD, versus the Market Vector’s Gold Miners ETF, ticker symbol GDX. Both ETF’s are among the most popular gold related ETFs by assets and trading volume. By the way, I’m 96% confident that cryptocurrency enthusiasts are gonna hate today’s matchup, which makes it all the more fun.

Helping us to judge this matchup is Dave Kreinces with ETF Portfolio Management and Mike Akins with ETF Action. Judges, welcome to the program, great to have you with us.

Mike Akins: Thanks Ron.

David Kreinces: Thanks for having me.

Ron Delegge: So the four battle categories are gonna be: Cost, Yield, Performance and get this, a Mystery category! Agatha Christie in the house. So I’ve got my ETF Battles scorecard, it’s right here. And as you can see, it’s blank. We’re gonna fill it out and we’re gonna go through these four battle categories one at a time. Each of you are gonna pick GLD or GDX as the winner, in each respective battle category and you’ve got 30 seconds to do that. Let’s begin with the first battle category, Cost. Dave, you’ve got 30 seconds, go.

David Kreinces: So on cost neither of these gold ETFs are that expensive, 40 basis points for the gold metal GLD or 53 bps for the miners index, so at that nominal 13 basis point difference it’s really a factor of which you’ve rather own. It’s rather nominal given the difference in what you’re buying, so on cost it’s somewhat irrelevant, but technically the GLD is a little cheaper.

Ron Delegge: Let’s move on to Mike, what’s your take?

Mike Akins: GLD all the way. Anybody that’s ever tried to buy gold and store it, knows how expensive it is to get it delivered and pay for it. GLD is the physical gold, it’s just held in the vault for you, so GLD is a way to own the metal. It’s by far cheaper.

Ron Delegge: Excellent analysis, well done. Let’s move on to the next battle category which is Yield. Let’s go with Mike.

Mike Akins: Yeah, I’m not sure what that means, Ron. Gold doesn’t yield unless you’re talkin’ about how much yield it takes to lift it or something, and gold miners pay very little dividends, so I pass.

Watch the full episode of ETF Battles on ETFguide TV between GLD vs. GDX to see who wins.


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