5 min read
By Beqa Bumbeishvili, ETF Insider


When it comes to investing in ETFs, two of the most popular choices are the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM). Each offers a unique investment strategy, with VOO focusing on U.S. large-cap stocks and EEM on emerging market equities. This post will delve deep into the intricacies of VOO VS EEM, exploring sectors, top holdings, capitalization strategies, tracking, and exposure.

VOO VS EEM: Sectors and Top Holdings

VOO tracks the S&P 500 Index, which consists of the largest 500 publicly traded companies in the U.S. This ETF has a high concentration in the technology, healthcare, and financial sectors. Some of the top holdings in VOO include Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon, representing the burgeoning tech industry's might in the U.S. economy.
On the flip side, EEM offers exposure to equities from emerging markets. The sectors here are more diversified. Financials, technology, and consumer staples are the predominant sectors. Top holdings in EEM vary by region, but large companies like Alibaba Group, Tencent, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. are notable names.

VOO overlap VOO VS EEMVOO overlap VOO VS EEM

VOO VS EEM: Capitalization Strategy

VOO is inclined towards large-cap companies. It mimics the S&P 500, which means its assets are mostly in established giants of the American business world. Investors here are looking for stability, dividends, and steady growth.
EEM, meanwhile, is a mix of large, mid, and some small-cap stocks. Emerging markets, by nature, present both opportunities and volatility. Companies in these markets can be on their path to becoming behemoths, akin to the S&P 500 giants, or they might still be in their nascent stages. Investing in EEM often represents a growth and, at times, speculative strategy compared to the relative safety of VOO.

VOO VS EEM: Tracking and Exposure

Both VOO and EEM are designed to track their respective indices closely. VOO’s tracking of the S&P 500 is precise, with minimal tracking error. It provides investors with exposure to the general health and growth of the U.S. economy.
EEM, however, is more complex. Tracking the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, it exposes investors to the ups and downs of countries like China, India, Brazil, and Russia. The economic and political climates in these countries can cause more pronounced fluctuations in EEM than VOO would experience. This exposure means potentially higher rewards but also higher risks.


In the great debate of VOO VS EEM, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. The choice boils down to individual risk tolerance, investment horizon, and goals. VOO offers a more conservative approach, with investments in established U.S. companies that have proven track records. EEM, with its focus on emerging markets, offers the potential for higher returns, albeit with higher volatility.

For long-term investors who seek growth and can stomach some volatility, a diversified portfolio including both VOO and EEM might be the sweet spot. This combination offers the stability of U.S. large-cap stocks and the potential growth from emerging markets.
No matter the choice, it’s essential always to do one’s research and perhaps consult with a financial advisor to understand the nuances and implications of any investment decision.


  1. Vanguard's official website on VOO details and performance.
  2. iShares by BlackRock's official page on EEM metrics and data.
  3. S&P Dow Jones Indices: S&P 500 methodology and components.
  4. MSCI's official documentation on the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

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VOO ETF official page

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