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These 21 funds have the lowest holding costs for short-term speculators.

If you want a brief exposure to smaller companies, use one of the exchange-traded funds that get to the top of our cost efficiency rankings.

The scorecard here reports the cost of maintaining a $10,000 stake for three months. That cost is the sum of the bid/ask spread, the expense ratio and the cost offset from securities lending.

The last factor is an important one for small-company index funds. They use revenue from lending shares to short-sellers to offset a large chunk of their management fee. It’s how such ETFs as the iShares Core S&P Small-Cap (IJR) and the iShares Russell 2000 (IWM) get their holding costs pretty close to zero.

3-month Holding Cost*
Liquidity Score
Ticker Exchange-traded fund
IJH iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap $2.66 A
VXF Vanguard Extended Market 3.85 A
VO Vanguard Mid-Cap 4.38 A
SCHM Schwab US Mid-Cap 4.48 A
VOE Vanguard Mid-Cap Value 4.94 A
SPMD SPDR Portfolio Mid Cap 5.30 B
VOT Vanguard Mid-Cap Growth 6.93 B
IVOO Vanguard S&P Mid-Cap 400 7.00 B
MDY SPDR S&P MidCap 400 7.45 A+
IWS iShares Russell Mid-Cap Value 9.13 A
IJR iShares Core S&P Small-Cap 0.43 A+
IWM iShares Russell 2000 0.66 A+
VB Vanguard Small-Cap 2.06 A
IWO iShares Russell 2000 Growth 2.76 A
VTWO Vanguard Russell 2000 3.95 B
SCHA Schwab US Small-Cap 4.21 A
IWN iShares Russell 2000 Value 4.42 A
SPSM SPDR Portfolio Small Cap 5.10 B
VBR Vanguard Small-Cap Value 6.83 A
VIOO Vanguard S&P Small-Cap 600 6.87 B
VBK Vanguard Small-Cap Growth 7.91 B

*Cost of a $10,000 position held for three months. Reflects bid/ask spread, expense ratio and cost offset from securities lending.

Data sources: Morningstar, Bloomberg, fund distributors

The cost competition comes out differently for long-term investments. Go to Best ETFs for Investors: Small-Cap and Best ETFs for Investors: Mid-Cap for ten-year holding costs.

For links to the short-term holding costs in other categories, such as bonds and foreign stocks, go to Best ETFs for Trading.

Originally published at Forbes

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