'Total return is the amount of value an investor earns from a security over a specific period, typically one year, when all distributions are reinvested. Total return is expressed as a percentage of the amount invested. For example, a total return of 20% means the security increased by 20% of its original value due to a price increase, distribution of dividends (if a stock), coupons (if a bond) or capital gains (if a fund). Total return is a strong measure of an investment’s overall performance.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the total return, or increase in value of 39.5% in the last 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (121.2%)
- Looking at total return, or performance in of 1.4% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (67.5%).

'The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a useful measure of growth over multiple time periods. It can be thought of as the growth rate that gets you from the initial investment value to the ending investment value if you assume that the investment has been compounding over the time period.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The annual performance (CAGR) over 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is 6.9%, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (17.2%) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (18.7%) in the period of the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) of 0.4% is smaller, thus worse.

'In finance, volatility (symbol σ) is the degree of variation of a trading price series over time as measured by the standard deviation of logarithmic returns. Historic volatility measures a time series of past market prices. Implied volatility looks forward in time, being derived from the market price of a market-traded derivative (in particular, an option). Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the volatility of 34.3% in the last 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (18.7%)
- During the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation is 37.2%, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 22.5% from the benchmark.

'The downside volatility is similar to the volatility, or standard deviation, but only takes losing/negative periods into account.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The downside risk over 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is 25%, which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (13.6%) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (16.3%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside risk of 27.3% is higher, thus worse.

'The Sharpe ratio is the measure of risk-adjusted return of a financial portfolio. Sharpe ratio is a measure of excess portfolio return over the risk-free rate relative to its standard deviation. Normally, the 90-day Treasury bill rate is taken as the proxy for risk-free rate. A portfolio with a higher Sharpe ratio is considered superior relative to its peers. The measure was named after William F Sharpe, a Nobel laureate and professor of finance, emeritus at Stanford University.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The Sharpe Ratio over 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is 0.13, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.79) in the same period.
- Looking at Sharpe Ratio in of -0.06 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (0.72).

'The Sortino ratio improves upon the Sharpe ratio by isolating downside volatility from total volatility by dividing excess return by the downside deviation. The Sortino ratio is a variation of the Sharpe ratio that differentiates harmful volatility from total overall volatility by using the asset's standard deviation of negative asset returns, called downside deviation. The Sortino ratio takes the asset's return and subtracts the risk-free rate, and then divides that amount by the asset's downside deviation. The ratio was named after Frank A. Sortino.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 0.18 in the last 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (1.08)
- During the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile is -0.08, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 1 from the benchmark.

'Ulcer Index is a method for measuring investment risk that addresses the real concerns of investors, unlike the widely used standard deviation of return. UI is a measure of the depth and duration of drawdowns in prices from earlier highs. Using Ulcer Index instead of standard deviation can lead to very different conclusions about investment risk and risk-adjusted return, especially when evaluating strategies that seek to avoid major declines in portfolio value (market timing, dynamic asset allocation, hedge funds, etc.). The Ulcer Index was originally developed in 1987. Since then, it has been widely recognized and adopted by the investment community. According to Nelson Freeburg, editor of Formula Research, Ulcer Index is “perhaps the most fully realized statistical portrait of risk there is.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (5.59 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 23 of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is higher, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (6.83 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 24 is higher, thus worse.

'Maximum drawdown measures the loss in any losing period during a fund’s investment record. It is defined as the percent retrenchment from a fund’s peak value to the fund’s valley value. The drawdown is in effect from the time the fund’s retrenchment begins until a new fund high is reached. The maximum drawdown encompasses both the period from the fund’s peak to the fund’s valley (length), and the time from the fund’s valley to a new fund high (recovery). It measures the largest percentage drawdown that has occurred in any fund’s data record.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The maximum drop from peak to valley over 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is -58.7 days, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley is -55.1 days, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of -33.7 days from the benchmark.

'The Maximum Drawdown Duration is an extension of the Maximum Drawdown. However, this metric does not explain the drawdown in dollars or percentages, rather in days, weeks, or months. It is the length of time the account was in the Max Drawdown. A Max Drawdown measures a retrenchment from when an equity curve reaches a new high. It’s the maximum an account lost during that retrenchment. This method is applied because a valley can’t be measured until a new high occurs. Once the new high is reached, the percentage change from the old high to the bottom of the largest trough is recorded.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 805 days in the last 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (139 days)
- Looking at maximum days below previous high in of 749 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (139 days).

'The Drawdown Duration is the length of any peak to peak period, or the time between new equity highs. The Avg Drawdown Duration is the average amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs), or in other terms the average of time under water of all drawdowns. So in contrast to the Maximum duration it does not measure only one drawdown event but calculates the average of all.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The average days under water over 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is 282 days, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (33 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (35 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark of 373 days is larger, thus worse.

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.
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- Note that yearly returns do not equal the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
- Performance results of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund are hypothetical, do not account for slippage, fees or taxes, and are based on backtesting, which has many inherent limitations, some of which are described in our Terms of Use.