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Should Vanguard SmallCap ETF (VB) Be on Your Investing Radar?

Looking for broad exposure to the Small Cap Blend segment of the US equity market? You should consider the Vanguard SmallCap ETF (VB), a passively managed exchange traded fund launched on 01/26/2004.

The fund is sponsored by Vanguard. It has amassed assets over $51.23 billion, making it one of the largest ETFs attempting to match the Small Cap Blend segment of the US equity market.

Why Small Cap Blend

Small cap companies have market capitalization below $2 billion. They usually have higher potential than large and mid cap companies with stocks but higher risk.

Typically holding a combination of both growth and value stocks, blend ETFs also demonstrate qualities seen in value and growth investments.


Expense ratios are an important factor in the return of an ETF and in the long term, cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive counterparts, other things remaining the same.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.05%, making it one of the least expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.09%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

ETFs offer a diversified exposure and thus minimize single stock risk but it is still important to delve into a fund's holdings before investing. Most ETFs are very transparent products and many disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation to the Industrials sector--about 17.50% of the portfolio. Information Technology and Financials round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Slcmt1142 accounts for about 1.05% of total assets, followed by Mktliq and Bio-Techne Corp. (TECH).

Performance and Risk

VB seeks to match the performance of the CRSP US Small Cap Index before fees and expenses. The CRSP US Small Cap Index includes U.S. companies that fall between the bottom 2 of the investable market capitalization. There is no lower limit in market capitalization. The index includes securities traded on NYSE, NYSE Market, NASDAQ or ARCA.

The ETF has added about 25.54% so far this year and was up about 39.83% in the last one year (as of 11/10/2021). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $171.85 and $239.37.

The ETF has a beta of 1.18 and standard deviation of 26.60% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 1523 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


Vanguard SmallCap ETF holds a Zacks ETF Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Because of this, VB is an outstanding option for investors seeking exposure to the Style Box - Small Cap Blend segment of the market. There are other additional ETFs in the space that investors could consider as well.

The iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) and the iShares Core S&P SmallCap ETF (IJR) track a similar index. While iShares Russell 2000 ETF has $75.62 billion in assets, iShares Core S&P SmallCap ETF has $76.52 billion. IWM has an expense ratio of 0.19% and IJR charges 0.06%.


While an excellent vehicle for long term investors, passively managed ETFs are a popular choice among institutional and retail investors due to their low costs, transparency, flexibility, and tax efficiency.

To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center.

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Vanguard SmallCap ETF (VB): ETF Research Reports
iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM): ETF Research Reports
BioTechne Corp (TECH): Free Stock Analysis Report
iShares Core S&P SmallCap ETF (IJR): ETF Research Reports
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