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Should Vanguard Small-Cap Growth ETF (VBK) Be on Your Investing Radar?

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Launched on 01/26/2004, the Vanguard Small-Cap Growth ETF (VBK - Free Report) is a passively managed exchange traded fund designed to provide a broad exposure to the Small Cap Growth segment of the US equity market.

The fund is sponsored by Vanguard. It has amassed assets over $17.27 billion, making it the largest ETFs attempting to match the Small Cap Growth segment of the US equity market.

Why Small Cap Growth

There's a lot of potential to investing in small cap companies, but with market capitalization below $2 billion, that high potential comes with even higher risk.

Growth stocks have higher than average sales and earnings growth rates. While these are expected to grow faster than the broader market, they also have higher valuations. Also, growth stocks are a type of equity that carries more risk compared to others. They are likely to outperform value stocks in strong bull markets but over the longer-term, value stocks have delivered better returns than growth stocks in almost all markets.


Since cheaper funds tend to produce better results than more expensive funds, assuming all other factors remain equal, it is important for investors to pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio.

Annual operating expenses for this ETF are 0.07%, making it one of the least expensive products in the space.

It has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 0.66%.

Sector Exposure and Top Holdings

Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure that minimizes single stock risk, investors should also look at the actual holdings inside the fund. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.

This ETF has heaviest allocation to the Information Technology sector--about 23.80% of the portfolio. Industrials and Healthcare round out the top three.

Looking at individual holdings, Targa Resources Corp (TRGP - Free Report) accounts for about 0.99% of total assets, followed by Ptc Inc (PTC - Free Report) and Deckers Outdoor Corp (DECK - Free Report) .

Performance and Risk

VBK seeks to match the performance of the CRSP U.S. Small Cap Growth Index before fees and expenses. The CRSP U.S. Small Cap Growth Index measures the investment return of small-capitalization growth stocks.

The ETF has added roughly 7.75% so far this year and is up about 25.72% in the last one year (as of 03/28/2024). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $196.36 and $260.10.

The ETF has a beta of 1.14 and standard deviation of 24.31% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 641 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.


Vanguard Small-Cap Growth ETF holds a Zacks ETF Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on expected asset class return, expense ratio, and momentum, among other factors. Because of this, VBK is an outstanding option for investors seeking exposure to the Style Box - Small Cap Growth segment of the market. There are other additional ETFs in the space that investors could consider as well.

The iShares S&P Small-Cap 600 Growth ETF (IJT - Free Report) and the iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF (IWO - Free Report) track a similar index. While iShares S&P Small-Cap 600 Growth ETF has $5.84 billion in assets, iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF has $11.64 billion. IJT has an expense ratio of 0.18% and IWO charges 0.24%.


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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