'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (78.4%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return of -2% of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is lower, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (44.1%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or performance of 5.2% is lower, thus worse.

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is -0.4%, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (12.3%) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (12.9%) in the period of the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) of 1.7% is lower, 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 33% in the last 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (19.9%)
- During the last 3 years, the volatility is 34.9%, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 23.1% from the benchmark.

'Risk measures typically quantify the downside risk, whereas the standard deviation (an example of a deviation risk measure) measures both the upside and downside risk. Specifically, downside risk in our definition is the semi-deviation, that is the standard deviation of all negative returns.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the downside risk of 24.3% in the last 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (14.6%)
- Compared with SPY (16.9%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside risk of 26% is higher, thus worse.

'The Sharpe ratio was developed by Nobel laureate William F. Sharpe, and is used to help investors understand the return of an investment compared to its risk. The ratio is the average return earned in excess of the risk-free rate per unit of volatility or total risk. Subtracting the risk-free rate from the mean return allows an investor to better isolate the profits associated with risk-taking activities. One intuition of this calculation is that a portfolio engaging in 'zero risk' investments, such as the purchase of U.S. Treasury bills (for which the expected return is the risk-free rate), has a Sharpe ratio of exactly zero. Generally, the greater the value of the Sharpe ratio, the more attractive the risk-adjusted return.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the Sharpe Ratio of -0.09 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 (0.49)
- During the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio is -0.02, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.45 from the benchmark.

'The Sortino ratio measures the risk-adjusted return of an investment asset, portfolio, or strategy. It is a modification of the Sharpe ratio but penalizes only those returns falling below a user-specified target or required rate of return, while the Sharpe ratio penalizes both upside and downside volatility equally. Though both ratios measure an investment's risk-adjusted return, they do so in significantly different ways that will frequently lead to differing conclusions as to the true nature of the investment's return-generating efficiency. The Sortino ratio is used as a way to compare the risk-adjusted performance of programs with differing risk and return profiles. In general, risk-adjusted returns seek to normalize the risk across programs and then see which has the higher return unit per risk.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The excess return divided by the downside deviation over 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is -0.12, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.67) in the same period.
- Looking at downside risk / excess return profile in of -0.03 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to SPY (0.62).

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (6.16 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 27 of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is larger, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Index is 17 , which is greater, thus worse than the value of 6.87 from the benchmark.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley of -62.3 days of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is smaller, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum DrawDown of -51.4 days is smaller, thus worse.

'The Drawdown Duration is the length of any peak to peak period, or the time between new equity highs. The Max Drawdown Duration is the worst (the maximum/longest) amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs) in days.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The maximum days under water over 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is 1087 days, which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (139 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (119 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 391 days is larger, thus worse.

'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:- Looking at the average time in days below previous high water mark of 482 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 (35 days)
- Looking at average days below previous high in of 133 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to SPY (27 days).

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.