Equity: U.S. - Small Cap

DWAS Top Performer Intra-day
Price $39.85
Today’s Change +0.30%(0.77)
3:59pm 03/24/2017
PSC Bottom Performer Intra-day
Price $27.86
Today’s Change -0.42%(-1.49)
12:44pm 03/24/2017
  • Overview
  • Efficiency
  • Tradability
  • Fit

ETF.com Insight

The US small-cap equity space is crowded—20+ funds offer some take on small-caps, be it straight-ahead market-cap, an index-based strategy or active management.

Far and awayin some cases, tracking differences blur the distinction between fees the most popular small-cap ETFs are those tracking market-weight indexes: the Russell 2000 and S&P 600. In fact, three of the market-weight funds (IWM, IJR and VB) together dominate small-cap assets. The rest of the assets are split between lesser-known market-cap funds, fundamentals-focused strategies and alpha-seeking funds.

The good news for small-cap investors is the top funds in the space capture the market return at extremely low cost. Taking the largest small-cap ETF as an example, IWM offers exposure to nearly 2,000 stocks with excellent liquidity, at typical holding costs lower than its fee. Vanguard’s VB, which tracks 1,500 stocks in a CRSP index, also tends to cost even less than its low fee.

What distinguishes the large number of market-weight ETFs from each other? Often, the answer is “very little.” Expense ratios and liquidity are the main distinguishing factors, and in some cases, tracking differences blur the distinction between fees. Investors here can choose their favorite index and are still likely to get an excellent price and deep liquidity.

The small-cap ETFs tracking alternative indexes are a little more varied. The remaining funds offer niche strategies in everything from dividend weighted, revenue weighted, to so-called 'core' indexes. Some of these funds are barely a blip on the radar, asset-wise, but others, like the WisdomTree SmallCap Dividend ETF (DES), have attracted hundreds of millions. The less popular of these ETFs often have serious liquidity concerns, so keep an eye on the Tradability score of anything that looks appealing.

Those that prefer active management have 1 choice (IESM), but assets and liquidity are weak for the relatively new fund. (Insight updated 03/24/17)

All Funds (36)

SCHA $5.13 B 5132504012.5 very low all-in costs

A 97
E
100
100
T
98
98
F
97
97

VIOO $591.94 M 591942500 Decent but eclipsed by IJR

A 96
E
97
97
T
97
97
F
96
96

SLY $825.98 M 825979543.92387 IJR is more liquid

A 96
E
98
98
T
87
87
F
96
96

IJR $29.28 B 29277643305 Trades easily

A 96
E
100
100
T
98
98
F
96
96

VB $17.59 B 17585641692.36 dirt-cheap all-in costs

A 95
E
99
99
T
99
99
F
95
95

FNDA $1.6 B 1597164791.8741 viable assets and liquidity

A 92
E
97
97
T
97
97
F
92
92

JKJ $240.72 M 240722750 not as liquid as some

A 91
E
97
97
T
82
82
F
91
91

IWM $38.25 B 38254134075 Extremely large & liquid

A 91
E
100
100
T
98
98
F
91
91

VTWO $967.21 M 967209250 rock solid but lags IWM in liquidiy

A 91
E
97
97
T
98
98
F
91
91

TWOK $193.49 M 193491075.05 lags IWM and VTWO in liquidity

A 88
E
97
97
T
87
87
F
88
88

DES $1.94 B 1944191340 stable and liquid

A 86
E
92
92
T
94
94
F
86
86

EES $469.99 M 469987500 tracks its index well

A 86
E
94
94
T
86
86
F
86
86

DGRS $100.13 M 100125660 investor interest still weak

A 79
E
93
93
T
81
81
F
79
79

XSLV $914.09 M 914094750 Low Volatility

A 67
E
97
97
T
93
93
F
67
67

SMLV $199.35 M 199346978.25 Low AUM, low trading volume

A 65
E
99
99
T
78
78
F
65
65

EWSC $31.06 M 31055050 same index as EQWS

B 98
E
91
91
T
57
57
F
98
98

FYX $505.6 M 505603305.334 very expensive to hold

B 92
E
88
88
T
94
94
F
92
92

EQWS $20.9 M 20897800 paltry assets

B 89
E
94
94
T
61
61
F
89
89

RWJ $500.47 M 500467611.4 high holding costs

B 86
E
85
85
T
91
91
F
86
86

CSF $43.34 M 43335600 Low-vol market timer

B 80
E
88
88
T
67
67
F
80
80

DWAS $190.77 M 190769900 popular but not cheap to hold

B 68
E
91
91
T
84
84
F
68
68

PSC $243.49 M 243487422.5127 N/A

F 82
E
59
59
T
56
56
F
82
82

SCAP $3.32 M 3317971.664 N/A

F 76
E
60
60
T
56
56
F
76
76

SMMV $7.93 M 7932420 N/A

F 57
E
55
55
T
53
53
F
57
57

CSA $22.18 M 22184745 higher fee

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

JPSE $28.68 M 28677819.717993 N/A

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

CSB $27.51 M 27507270 N/A

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

XSHD $7.29 M 7285824.286 N/A

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

DESC $4.53 M 4534380.229 N/A

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

SMDV $385.88 M 385877250 low assets, weak liquidity

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

NUSC $11.23 M 11228445 N/A

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

SMLF $41.61 M 41608680 New; trade with care

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

OUSM $23.86 M 23864214.6 N/A

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

ZSML $1.34 M 1344500 Looks for companies with the biggest earnings increases

F 68
E
54
54
T
39
39
F
68
68

IESM $8.36 M 8361150 thin investor interest

C 78
E
84
84
T
58
58
F
78
78

EWRS $35.93 M 35931000 same index as EQWS

B 72
E
87
87
T
59
59
F
72
72

ETF.com Grade as 03/16/17

Equity: U.S. - Small Cap

Performance Dispersion
Performance  [as of 03/23/17] 1 Month 3 Month YTD 1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
Benchmark: MSCI USA Small Cap-2.54%0.51%1.42%23.64%6.22%12.18%--
A 96.654613SCHA5132504012.5SCHASchwab U.S. Small-Cap ETF-2.96%-0.47%0.42%23.64%5.81%12.48%--
A 95.878157VIOO591942500VIOOVanguard S&P Small Cap 600 Index Fund ETF-3.08%-1.98%-1.30%25.98%8.22%13.91%--
A 95.67476SLY825979543.92387SLYSPDR S&P 600 Small Cap ETF-3.15%-1.97%-1.44%25.53%8.19%13.74%8.86%
A 95.561297IJR29277643305IJRiShares Core S&P Small Cap ETF-3.10%-2.00%-1.27%25.98%8.23%13.84%8.40%
A 95.138666VB17585641692.36VBVanguard Small-Cap Index Fund-2.62%0.65%1.56%22.41%6.30%12.54%7.88%
A 91.980244FNDA1597164791.8741FNDASchwab Fundamental US Small Co. Index ETF-2.82%-0.93%-0.12%23.05%7.03%----
A 90.808698JKJ240722750JKJiShares Morningstar Small-Cap ETF-2.86%-0.81%0.12%22.44%6.63%12.22%7.09%
A 90.603548IWM38254134075IWMiShares Russell 2000 ETF-2.86%-0.93%-0.05%27.67%5.85%11.94%6.81%
A 90.500854VTWO967209250VTWOVanguard Russell 2000 Index Fund-2.83%-0.95%0.01%27.48%5.81%11.93%--
A 88.398133TWOK193491075.05TWOKSPDR Russell 2000 ETF-2.61%-0.63%0.40%27.52%6.16%----
A 86.430166DES1944191340DESWisdomTree SmallCap Dividend Fund-3.71%-4.14%-3.99%22.81%8.16%13.56%6.89%
A 86.409436EES469987500EESWisdomTree SmallCap Earnings Fund-3.53%-3.79%-3.39%27.40%5.99%12.11%8.14%
A 79.397122DGRS100125660DGRSWisdomTree US Smallcap Quality Dividend Growth Fund-3.38%-4.80%-4.11%21.90%6.75%----
A 67.03095XSLV914094750XSLVPowerShares S&P SmallCap Low Volatility Portfolio-3.21%-2.79%-2.83%25.99%12.18%----
A 65.040466SMLV199346978.25SMLVSPDR SSGA US Small Cap Low Volatility Index ETF-4.08%-4.73%-4.06%23.31%10.26%----
B 97.610379EWSC31055050EWSCGuggenheim S&P SmallCap 600 Equal Weight ETF-3.51%-3.55%-3.18%25.62%1.77%9.23%--
B 91.935325FYX505603305.334FYXFirst Trust Small Cap Core AlphaDEX Fund-3.15%-2.23%-1.28%23.18%3.42%10.68%--
B 88.916658EQWS20897800EQWSPowerShares Russell 2000 Equal Weight Portfolio-2.77%-3.72%-2.82%27.90%5.34%10.33%4.25%
B 85.815338RWJ500467611.4RWJOppenheimer Small Cap Revenue ETF-4.69%-4.63%-3.38%24.93%6.19%13.36%--
B 80.430391CSF43335600CSFVictoryShares US Discovery Enhanced Volatility Weighted Index ETF-2.61%-2.52%-1.92%23.05%------
B 67.910857DWAS190769900DWASPowerShares DWA SmallCap Momentum Portfolio-4.20%-3.55%-2.11%19.15%-0.49%----
F 81.588788PSC243487422.5127PSCPrincipal U.S. Small Cap Index ETF-0.46%1.64%2.34%--------
F 76.250599SCAP3317971.664SCAPAdvisorShares Cornerstone Small Cap ETF-2.88%-0.89%0.09%--------
F 56.845152SMMV7932420SMMViShares Edge MSCI Min Vol USA Small-Cap ETF-1.23%2.00%2.00%--------
N/A 0CSA22184745CSAVictoryShares US Small Cap Volatility Wtd Index ETF-2.74%-2.69%-1.96%25.87%------
N/A 0JPSE28677819.717993JPSEJPMorgan Diversified Return U.S. Small Cap Equity ETF-2.04%0.50%0.92%--------
N/A 0CSB27507270CSBVictoryShares US Small Cap High Div Volatility Wtd ETF-2.96%-4.68%-3.85%20.86%------
N/A 0XSHD7285824.286XSHDPowerShares S&P SmallCap High Dividend Low Volatility Portfolio-4.25%-4.32%-4.32%--------
N/A 0DESC4534380.229DESCDeutsche X-trackers Russell 2000 Comprehensive Factor ETF-3.37%-3.91%-3.52%--------
N/A 0SMDV385877250SMDVProShares Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF-2.05%-2.86%-2.43%25.08%------
N/A 0NUSC11228445NUSCNuShares ESG Small-Cap ETF-2.10%1.61%2.11%--------
N/A 0SMLF41608680SMLFiShares Edge MSCI Multifactor USA Small-Cap ETF-3.28%-1.96%-0.99%23.38%------
N/A 0OUSM23864214.6OUSMO'Shares FTSE Russell Small Cap Quality Dividend ETF-1.92%--0.79%--------
F 67.528426ZSML1344500ZSMLETFS Zacks Earnings Small-Cap U.S. Index Fund5.28%14.69%-4.28%32.80%------
C 78.062121909754IESM8361150IESMiShares Enhanced US Small-Cap ETF2.65%11.34%13.46%12.25%7.95%----
B 71.940939152313EWRS35931000EWRSGuggenheim Russell 2000 Equal Weight-13.64%-18.45%-14.72%-20.44%1.32%2.67%--
All returns over 1 year are annualized. All returns are total returns unless otherwise stated.

ETF.com Efficiency Insight

Fee wars among ETF issuers have driven holding costs down. Small-cap ETFs holding hundreds of stocks are now available for under 15 basis points annually. Low fees are a positiveSCHA's actual holding cost is even lower than its fee contributor to great tracking and to actual investor holding costs. Securities-lending revenue and turnover due to non-cap-weighted strategies also drive tracking performance.

SCHA and VB stand out as low-fee leaders charging under 10 bps. Amazingly, each fund’s actual holding cost (as measured by median tracking difference) is even lower than its fee to the point where the funds are effectively free to hold.

GURX, ZSML and FYX stand out at the other extreme with the segment’s highest fees. Actual holding costs for these are higher still, approaching 100 bps.

Such cost differences count for a lot in the case of large, multiyear allocations.

Costs and tracking differences certainly vary among the funds, but so do risks, especially the risk that an ETF will close due to lack of interest. Several small-cap funds have tiny asset bases, and could be shut down by their issuers. (Other metrics beyond AUM also go into our qualitative risk level.) Specifically, watch out for SMLV, DGRS and PXSC. If a fund does close, rarely do investors lose the value of their investment, but closure does typically trigger a tax event for holders of the ETF, and investors must cope with reinvestment. All things equal, it’s clearly preferable to invest in a stable fund.

Tracking risks aren’t a consideration for the segment’s lone actively-managed fund, IESM. Still, investors here should keep a watchful eye on the funds slender asset base.

One last caveat: Investors should look beyond holdings costs as a proxy for all-in costs when choosing an ETF in this space. Trading costs can quickly outweigh the savings from choosing cheaper but less liquid funds, especially when the fee difference is a handful of basis points for shorter holding periods. (Insight updated 03/24/17)

All Funds (36)

100
99.571879
99
99.093905
99
98.754959
98
98.043973
97
97.465659
97
97.24799
97
97.220941
97
97.000414
97
96.630969
97
96.50373
94
94.056002
94
93.925264
93
93.43267
92
92.28996
91
90.757484
91
90.729761
88
88.38924
88
87.693439
85
85.097042
60
60.189189
59
59.151351
55
54.865851
100
100
100
100
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
54
54.11577
84
83.629378793993
87
87.007897976144

ETF.com Grade as 03/16/17

Equity: U.S. - Small Cap

Tracking Difference (12 Month)

Ticker Expense Ratio Median Max. Upside Max. Downside Max LT/ST Cap Gains Rate Rule Legal Structure Fund Closure Risk Efficiency
SMMV iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol USA Small-Cap ETF 0.20% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% High 54.865851
FNDA Schwab Fundamental US Small Co. Index ETF 0.25% -0.24% -0.18% -0.41% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 96.630969
SMLV SPDR SSGA US Small Cap Low Volatility Index ETF 0.12% -0.16% 0.16% -0.34% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 98.754959
PSC Principal U.S. Small Cap Index ETF 0.38% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 59.151351
FYX First Trust Small Cap Core AlphaDEX Fund 0.64% -0.52% -0.45% -0.66% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 88.38924
TWOK SPDR Russell 2000 ETF 0.10% 0.25% 0.32% -0.05% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 97.465659
CSA VictoryShares US Small Cap Volatility Wtd Index ETF 0.35% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Medium 0
JPSE JPMorgan Diversified Return U.S. Small Cap Equity ETF 0.39% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 0
VB Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund 0.08% 0.03% 0.07% 0.01% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 99.093905
CSB VictoryShares US Small Cap High Div Volatility Wtd ETF 0.35% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Medium 0
XSHD PowerShares S&P SmallCap High Dividend Low Volatility Portfolio 0.30% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 0
IJR iShares Core S&P Small Cap ETF 0.07% -0.01% 0.04% -0.12% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 100
VIOO Vanguard S&P Small Cap 600 Index Fund ETF 0.15% 0.06% 0.14% -0.09% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 97.220941
CSF VictoryShares US Discovery Enhanced Volatility Weighted Index ETF 0.38% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 87.693439
NUSC NuShares ESG Small-Cap ETF 0.40% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 0
IWM iShares Russell 2000 ETF 0.20% 0.09% 0.11% 0.03% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 99.571879
VTWO Vanguard Russell 2000 Index Fund 0.15% 0.02% 0.06% -0.01% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 97.24799
DES WisdomTree SmallCap Dividend Fund 0.38% -0.19% -0.06% -0.39% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 92.28996
OUSM O'Shares FTSE Russell Small Cap Quality Dividend ETF 0.48% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 0
JKJ iShares Morningstar Small-Cap ETF 0.25% -0.10% -0.06% -0.33% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 96.50373
XSLV PowerShares S&P SmallCap Low Volatility Portfolio 0.25% -0.29% -0.23% -0.40% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 97.000414
DGRS WisdomTree US Smallcap Quality Dividend Growth Fund 0.38% -0.14% -0.07% -0.33% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 93.43267
RWJ Oppenheimer Small Cap Revenue ETF 0.39% -0.71% -0.58% -1.16% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 85.097042
DWAS PowerShares DWA SmallCap Momentum Portfolio 0.60% -0.57% -0.49% -0.73% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 90.729761
SCHA Schwab U.S. Small-Cap ETF 0.05% 0.02% 0.07% -0.04% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 100
EWSC Guggenheim S&P SmallCap 600 Equal Weight ETF 0.41% -0.37% -0.22% -0.70% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 90.757484
EES WisdomTree SmallCap Earnings Fund 0.38% -0.11% -0.05% -0.29% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 93.925264
SLY SPDR S&P 600 Small Cap ETF 0.15% -0.01% 0.01% -0.44% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 98.043973
DESC Deutsche X-trackers Russell 2000 Comprehensive Factor ETF 0.30% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% High 0
EQWS PowerShares Russell 2000 Equal Weight Portfolio 0.25% -0.31% -0.13% -0.43% 20.00% / 39.60% Medium 94.056002
SMDV ProShares Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF 0.40% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 0
SCAP AdvisorShares Cornerstone Small Cap ETF 0.90% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% High 60.189189
SMLF iShares Edge MSCI Multifactor USA Small-Cap ETF 0.30% -0.47% -0.16% -0.87% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 0
ZSML ETFS Zacks Earnings Small-Cap U.S. Index Fund -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Closing 54.11577
IESM iShares Enhanced US Small-Cap ETF -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Closing 83.629378793993
EWRS Guggenheim Russell 2000 Equal Weight -0.13% 0.02% -0.39% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 87.007897976144

ETF.com Tradability Insight

Tradability can determine whether a small-cap ETF is truly investment-worthy or not. Several funds with otherwise-attractive strategies and efficient management trade at large spreads. TheIWM trades more than $3B most days, a massive sum cost of a bad trade can far outweigh the small differences in annual fees between competing ETFs.

The largest funds here provide some of the best liquidity that ETFs have to offer. IWM, iShares Russell 2000 ETF, trades well more than $3B most days—a massive sum—at penny-wide spreads. In fact, all three of the top-trading small-cap funds (IWM, IJR and VB) trade huge amounts daily, and will absorb institutional-size trades with little impact. To be sure, these funds offer outstanding Tradability for retail-sized orders too.

However, watch out for the funds that occupy the other end of the liquidity spectrum. For instance, PXSC trades at very thin volumes—under 1,000 shares most days—and spreads are wide. Placing a market order in such a fund is a recipe for high cost execution.

Poor liquidity isn’t confined to more esoteric strategies— plain-vanilla funds like TWOK (the SPDR Russell 2000) trade thinly, so double-check Tradability scores even if the fund sounds safe. All told, poor liquidity can add significant cost—and time spent—to the investment. The silver lining in the US small-cap segment is that the primary liquidity of these ETFs tends to be high, so if you can place large transactions through a liquidity provider, you’re still likely to get a fair price. Institutional traders should nonetheless check for potential price impact for creates and redeems (via underlying volume/unit), as funds like SMLV, IESM and XSLV have less liquid underlying names. (Insight updated 03/24/17)

All Funds (36)

99
99.202034
98
98.45145
98
98.318061
98
97.93512
98
97.926693
97
97.12701
97
96.968796
94
94.231855
94
94.18654
93
92.53074
91
90.706411
87
87.076562
87
86.919941
86
86.11352
84
84.367375
82
81.552508
81
80.790274
78
78.384035
67
66.584401
61
61.135419
57
56.610246
56
55.858022
56
55.517028
53
52.510462
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
39
39.34955
58
57.52387108872
59
59.346433883911

ETF.com Grade as 03/16/17

Equity: U.S. - Small Cap

Ticker Median Daily Volume ($) Average Spread Creation Unit/Day Market Hours Overlap Underlying Volume/Unit % Creation Cost Per Unit (%) Impediment to Creations Score - Tradability
NUSC NuShares ESG Small-Cap ETF $21.65 K 0.47% 0.01 100.00% 0.02% 0.04% None 0
CSF VictoryShares US Discovery Enhanced Volatility Weighted Index ETF $238.61 K 0.29% 0.12 100.00% 0.09% 0.04% None 66.584401
SMDV ProShares Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF $4.22 M 0.15% 3.21 100.00% 0.55% 0.02% None 0
OUSM O'Shares FTSE Russell Small Cap Quality Dividend ETF $719.62 K 0.16% 0.57 100.00% 0.04% 0.04% None 0
DES WisdomTree SmallCap Dividend Fund $11.1 M 0.11% 2.75 100.00% 0.18% 0.04% None 94.18654
SMLF iShares Edge MSCI Multifactor USA Small-Cap ETF $152.51 K 0.61% 0.09 100.00% 0.05% 0.09% None 0
DGRS WisdomTree US Smallcap Quality Dividend Growth Fund $645.04 K 0.22% 0.39 100.00% 0.15% 0.03% None 80.790274
SMLV SPDR SSGA US Small Cap Low Volatility Index ETF $1.11 M 0.33% 0.25 100.00% 0.65% 0.01% None 78.384035
DWAS PowerShares DWA SmallCap Momentum Portfolio $985.57 K 0.28% 0.48 100.00% 0.32% 0.03% None 84.367375
TWOK SPDR Russell 2000 ETF $1.29 M 0.28% 0.32 100.00% 0.04% 0.06% None 87.076562
EES WisdomTree SmallCap Earnings Fund $1.72 M 0.31% 0.73 100.00% 0.08% 0.16% None 86.11352
VB Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund $96.6 M 0.03% 28.71 100.00% 0.02% 0.02% None 99.202034
EQWS PowerShares Russell 2000 Equal Weight Portfolio $145.46 K 0.39% 0.05 100.00% 0.09% 0.05% None 61.135419
VIOO Vanguard S&P Small Cap 600 Index Fund ETF $4.59 M 0.07% 1.49 100.00% 0.08% 0.02% None 97.12701
VTWO Vanguard Russell 2000 Index Fund $8.75 M 0.04% 3.18 100.00% 0.03% 0.04% None 98.45145
FNDA Schwab Fundamental US Small Co. Index ETF $8.65 M 0.09% 4.92 100.00% 0.02% 0.03% None 96.968796
XSLV PowerShares S&P SmallCap Low Volatility Portfolio $7.33 M 0.10% 3.37 100.00% 0.37% 0.02% None 92.53074
FYX First Trust Small Cap Core AlphaDEX Fund $2.08 M 0.14% 0.78 100.00% 0.09% 0.02% None 94.231855
EWSC Guggenheim S&P SmallCap 600 Equal Weight ETF $123.84 K 0.49% 0.05 100.00% 0.11% 0.13% None 56.610246
DESC Deutsche X-trackers Russell 2000 Comprehensive Factor ETF $29.19 K 0.17% 0.02 100.00% 0.07% 0.13% None 0
IJR iShares Core S&P Small Cap ETF $194.78 M 0.02% 55.57 100.00% 0.09% 0.04% None 97.926693
SCAP AdvisorShares Cornerstone Small Cap ETF $10.99 K 0.45% 0.01 100.00% 0.06% 0.07% None 55.858022
IWM iShares Russell 2000 ETF $3.64 B 0.01% 541.83 100.00% 0.06% 0.04% None 98.318061
SMMV iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol USA Small-Cap ETF $60.42 K 0.58% 0.03 100.00% 0.05% 0.08% None 52.510462
JKJ iShares Morningstar Small-Cap ETF $598.77 K 0.12% 0.08 100.00% 0.21% 0.01% None 81.552508
PSC Principal U.S. Small Cap Index ETF $8.92 K 0.42% 0.01 100.00% 0.04% 0.11% None 55.517028
RWJ Oppenheimer Small Cap Revenue ETF $3.66 M 0.16% 1.10 100.00% 0.21% 0.09% None 90.706411
JPSE JPMorgan Diversified Return U.S. Small Cap Equity ETF $20.55 K 0.18% 0.01 100.00% 0.03% 0.18% None 0
CSA VictoryShares US Small Cap Volatility Wtd Index ETF $72.68 K 0.33% 0.03 100.00% 0.10% 0.04% None 0
SCHA Schwab U.S. Small-Cap ETF $25.8 M 0.05% 8.20 100.00% 0.02% 0.05% None 97.93512
XSHD PowerShares S&P SmallCap High Dividend Low Volatility Portfolio $109.6 K 0.36% 0.09 100.00% 0.50% 0.04% None 0
CSB VictoryShares US Small Cap High Div Volatility Wtd ETF $188.86 K 0.24% 0.10 100.00% 0.49% 0.01% None 0
SLY SPDR S&P 600 Small Cap ETF $3.44 M 0.29% 0.58 100.00% 0.15% 0.05% None 86.919941
ZSML ETFS Zacks Earnings Small-Cap U.S. Index Fund $0 0.00 100.00% 0.02% 0.02% None 39.34955
IESM iShares Enhanced US Small-Cap ETF $102.89 K 0.06 100.00% 0.00% 0.06% None 57.52387108872
EWRS Guggenheim Russell 2000 Equal Weight $134.43 K 0.07 98.00% 0.09% 0.17% None 59.346433883911

ETF.com/ Block Liquidity

DGRS
5
4
3
2
1
DWAS
5
4
3
2
1
EES
5
4
3
2
1
FNDA
5
4
3
2
1
FYX
5
4
3
2
1
IJR
5
4
3
2
1
IWM
5
4
3
2
1
JKJ
5
4
3
2
1
RWJ
5
4
3
2
1
SCHA
5
4
3
2
1
SLY
5
4
3
2
1
SMLF
5
4
3
2
1
SMLV
5
4
3
2
1
TWOK
5
4
3
2
1
VB
5
4
3
2
1
VIOO
5
4
3
2
1
VTWO
5
4
3
2
1
XSLV
5
4
3
2
1
CSF
5
4
3
2
1
OUSM
5
4
3
2
1
DES
5
4
3
2
1
EQWS
5
4
3
2
1
SMDV
5
4
3
2
1
EWSC
5
4
3
2
1
DESC
5
4
3
2
1
SCAP
5
4
3
2
1
SMMV
5
4
3
2
1
PSC
5
4
3
2
1
JPSE
5
4
3
2
1
CSA
5
4
3
2
1
CSB
5
4
3
2
1
NUSC
5
4
3
2
1
XSHD
5
4
3
2
1
ZSML
5
4
3
2
1
IESM
5
4
3
2
1
EWRS
5
4
3
2
1

This measurement shows how easy it is to trade 25,000 shares of each ETF.

ETF.com Fit Insight

No matter what kind of small-cap exposure investors are looking for, there are plenty of ETF options. Choices range from those that simply capture the market return to funds delivering aThe Russell 2000 is an excellent index for capturing the small-cap market range of niche strategies and alternate weightings.

Among those offering the market return, a few names stand out. The Vanguard Small-Cap ETF (VB) earns the highest score here, tracking a comprehensive CRSP index that holds roughly 1,500 small-cap stocks. Schwab’s SCHA also earns high marks, tracking a Dow Jones Index of over 2,000 stocks. Surprisingly, funds tracking the Russell 2000 Index, including the asset-behemoth IWM, don’t earn a great Fit score. That has more to do with our benchmark for small-caps (which tends to lean toward larger stocks) than it does with any shortcoming of the Russell 2000 Index. Don’t let the score throw you off here: The Russell 2000 is an excellent index for capturing the small-cap market.

Choices abound among alternative strategies as well. Most of them don’t score favorably in Fit because they don’t aim to provide the market return or provide vanilla exposure. But low Fit scores don’t mean these funds don’t provide valuable exposure. WisdomTree’s Small-Cap Dividend Fund (DES) is a diversified and small-leaning fund that weights its holdings according to dividend. DES’ higher cash flows, coupled with the capital appreciation potential of small-caps, sounds appealing, but be sure you’re comfortable with its exposure tilts, and know also that some dividend strategies have lagged in total return over the past year.

Also popular are so-called core funds, which hold only those stocks that fall in the middle of the style spectrum between growth and value. The iShares Morningstar Small Core (JKJ), the PowerShares Fundamental Pure Small Core (PXSC) and the First Trust Small Cap Core AlphaDex (FYX) all offer some flavor of that methodology.

Equal-weighted methodologies have gained less traction here than in other ETF segments. GURX equal-weights its copycat holdings while EWRS equal weights by sectors and then by stocks within the sector.

IESM is the lone actively managed fund in the segment. So far performance has lagged as the fund reaches deep into the microcap space.

 (Insight updated 03/24/17)

All Funds (36)

98
97.610379
97
96.654613
96
95.878157
96
95.67476
96
95.561297
95
95.138666
92
91.980244
92
91.935325
91
90.808698
91
90.603548
91
90.500854
89
88.916658
88
88.398133
86
86.430166
86
86.409436
86
85.815338
82
81.588788
80
80.430391
79
79.397122
76
76.250599
68
67.910857
67
67.03095
65
65.040466
57
56.845152
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
68
67.528426
78
78.062121909754
72
71.940939152313

ETF.com Grade as 03/16/17

Equity: U.S. - Small Cap