It's not easy to squirrel away a little dough in some stocks. The minimum initial investment for a mutual fund averages $3,370, up more than $700 from three years ago, Morningstar reports. And 100 shares of popular Internet highfliers like Yahoo! ( YHOO) ($177 per share at Wednesday's close) and eBay ( EBAY) ($199) can run five figures. What if you just want to put 20 bucks to work? Now there are at least two online brokers, Buyandhold.com and Sharebuilder.com, that will let investors build a diversified portfolio using small change to buy fractional shares of stock. A third service, Foliofn, will launch within a month. Foliofn will also offer fractional share investments, but it's aimed at high-dollar investors. For as little as $20 and a couple of bucks a trade, Buyandhold.com and Sharebuilder.com offer the chance to put together a customized portfolio. The concept is similar to
|Gimme Five Bucks' Worth of Cisco |
You can buy stocks in dollar amounts, rather than in whole shares, through these online brokers.
|Site||Minimum investment||Cost||Trading frequency||Additional fees||Stocks available|
| ||$20 per stock||$2.99 per trade||Twice a day||None||1,400|
| ||None||$2-$5 to buy; $19.99 to sell||Every Tuesday||$19.95 for real-time trades||2,000 plus exchange-traded funds|
| ||None||$295 annual flat rate||Twice a day||$14.95 for real-time trades||2,500|
|*Expected to launch in April. Source: Companies.|