How did the Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF fare in March?

Vanguard’s VGS ETF had a strong month. But strong enough to beat the ASX 200?

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The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) had a fairly successful month in March. The ASX’s flagship index rose a healthy 6.4% over the month just passed, resulting in gains for many ASX shares and ASX-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs). But how did international share markets fare over March? A good ASX proxy for these markets is the Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF (ASX: VGS).   

VGS is an ETF that covers multiple share markets across various advanced economies around the world. Its dominant market is the United States, but VGS also includes shares from countries like the United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore and Canada, as well as many from Europe.

Among VGS’s top holdings, you will mostly find the top US companies by market capitalisation. These include the US tech giants like Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN). But other international shares like Nestle, LVMH and Toyota are also significant presences.

In saying that, VGS has almost 1,500 different holdings, so there is a lot of diversification here as well. 

So how did this Vanguard ETF perform over March? 

How did the Vanguard International Shares ETF go in March?

Well, VGS units started the month priced at $97.05 each. By last Thursday, they had finished up at a price of $99.09. That represents a gain of 2.94% for the month of March. There were no dividend distributions during the month, so that’s the absolute return VGS investors received.

It’s arguably a very solid result. But it still pales in comparison to the returns of the ASX 200, which would extend to any ASX-based index ETF.

It hasn’t been too often that an ASX ETF has outperformed a US-dominated ETF like VGS in recent years. So considering this, it was a truly great month for ASX investors.

Over the past five years, the Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF has returned an average of 13.57% per annum. This ASX exchange-traded fund charges an annual management fee of 0.18%. 

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen owns Amazon and Apple. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns and has recommended Amazon, Apple, and Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has recommended the following options: long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Amazon, Apple, and Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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