The Complete History of the GLD

by on August 13, 2013 | Updated April 21, 2014 | ETFs Mentioned:

The SPDR Gold Trust (GLD, A-) is the oldest commodity ETF, and perhaps one of the best known exchange-traded funds in the world. Here’s a quick primer on the history of GLD, by the numbers:

Vital Stats

Below are some stats that put GLD into perspective:

  • Oldest U.S.-listed Precious Metal ETF (launched 2004)
  • Largest U.S.-listed Precious Metal ETF ($31.89 billion in AUM)
  • Most Heavily Traded Gold ETF (ADV of 7.55 million shares)

Year by Year

Between its first full year of trading in 2005 and 2013, GLD has endured only a single negative annual return:

Combined together, that translates into an aggregate performance of about 170% between inception and December 31, 2013:

Best and Worst Runs

Though not as volatile as many other commodity ETFs, GLD has experienced some big swings over the years:

Visualized another way, here’s a look at the daily performance of GLD since its inception (note the significant increase in volatility throughout 2008 and 2013):

daily changes GLD

Click to Enlarge

Here’s yet another way to look at the daily historical volatility of GLD:

Of the 13 sessions in which GLD has moved by 5% or more, here’s the chronological breakdown:

Over one week (five session) periods, GLD has gained as much as 16.9% and lost as much as 14.3% of its value:

Here’s a look at GLD’s biggest swings over a 10-session period of time:

Fun Facts

  • With $33.3 billion in assets, GLD is currently the 8th largest fund and represents about 2% of the total ETF universe (Tweet this!).
  • GLD hit its highest price on August 22nd, 2011 closing at $184.59 (Tweet this!).
  • 2013 has been the only negative year for GLD since inception (Tweet this!).


GLD charges an annual management fee of 40 basis points, making it one of the cheaper precious metal ETFs available. With assets of $31.89 billion, that means GLD generates about $127 million annually, or about $14,497 every hour.

What a $1 Million Investment Would Be Worth Today

What would your return on GLD be if you invested in it from the beginning?

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.