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The current price for the S&P500 SPDR ETF is about USD 150, so I would guess that I need approximately USD 15,000 to purchase the minimum lot of 100 shares, as well as the transaction costs, which are $4 a trade for me.

I'm in the United States, if it's helpful.

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ETFs are traded as stocks, and you can buy any amount.

The minimum amount limitation is for initial purchases from SPDR itself, which is not what you're going to do. The direct purchase from SPDR is for financial institutions that buy ETFs in chunks of 100000 units and then sell them on secondary market, which is where you're buying.

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    @John yes. You can buy a single share if you want. – littleadv Feb 6 '13 at 21:11
  • For other companies (as compared with ETFs) buying one share gets you a subscription to their quarterly and annual reports. For those who wish to read the hard copy of these reports and not sit at the library, this would be a valid reason to drop $4 on the purchase of one $30 share. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Feb 7 '13 at 0:00
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The minimum investment is 1 share. You can go to almost any broker and issue a buy order for exactly 1 share.

In general, you don't get to own fractional shares. An ETF is not a mutual fund and must trade in discrete integer increments. Your broker may offer you a program to buy fractional shares: in that case you're not really buying the share yourself: your broker buys the share, and you share its ownership with other people at the brokerage through the brokerage. The details of this ownership arrangement will be described by your fractional-share or dividend-reinvestment-program agreement and may vary from brokerage to brokerage.

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Sharebuilder would be another option if you wanted to do fractional shares though there can be issues with bid-ask spreads as I'm not sure how Sharebuilder handles these kinds of trades differently than other brokerage firms where you'd use standard limit or market orders.

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