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>> Can I expect all my money (less any fees) to be invested giving me a fractional number of shares, or would I only recieve a whole number of shares with the balance kept in a cash account? Does it depend on the broker, or the type of security -- stock or mutual fund ?

It does depend on the type of investment. When you purchase stocks, you purchase them only in full shares, and any money that's left over remains in cash.
(Dividend-reinvestment plans are an exception; they do keep accounts in fractional shares since the dividends usually don't equal the price of a full share.)

Mutual funds allow you to purchase fractional shares, to three decimal places, and always invest the full amount that you send (unless there's a front-end sales charge). This is true even if you purchase the mutual fund within a brokerage account.

SPY trades like a stock, that is, only in full shares. If it is important to you to invest an exact amount of money, use VFINX or any other similar index mutual fund that is convenient.
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