'Total return, when measuring performance, is the actual rate of return of an investment or a pool of investments over a given evaluation period. Total return includes interest, capital gains, dividends and distributions realized over a given period of time. Total return accounts for two categories of return: income including interest paid by fixed-income investments, distributions or dividends and capital appreciation, representing the change in the market price of an asset.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The total return, or performance over 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is -13.7%, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (63%) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (33.5%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value of 12.7% is smaller, 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 -2.9%, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (10.3%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the annual return (CAGR) is 4.1%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 10.1% from the benchmark.

'Volatility is a rate at which the price of a security increases or decreases for a given set of returns. Volatility is measured by calculating the standard deviation of the annualized returns over a given period of time. It shows the range to which the price of a security may increase or decrease. Volatility measures the risk of a security. It is used in option pricing formula to gauge the fluctuations in the returns of the underlying assets. Volatility indicates the pricing behavior of the security and helps estimate the fluctuations that may happen in a short period of time.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the 30 days standard deviation of 34.6% 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 (21.6%)
- Looking at historical 30 days volatility in of 37.3% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to SPY (25.1%).

'Downside risk is the financial risk associated with losses. That is, it is the risk of the actual return being below the expected return, or the uncertainty about the magnitude of that difference. 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The downside volatility over 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is 25.2%, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (15.6%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the downside volatility is 27.2%, which is higher, thus worse than the value of 18.1% from the benchmark.

'The Sharpe ratio (also known as the Sharpe index, the Sharpe measure, and the reward-to-variability ratio) is a way to examine the performance of an investment by adjusting for its risk. The ratio measures the excess return (or risk premium) per unit of deviation in an investment asset or a trading strategy, typically referred to as risk, named after William F. Sharpe.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The Sharpe Ratio over 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is -0.16, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.36) in the same period.
- Looking at Sharpe Ratio in of 0.04 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (0.3).

'The Sortino ratio, a variation of the Sharpe ratio only factors in the downside, or negative volatility, rather than the total volatility used in calculating the Sharpe ratio. The theory behind the Sortino variation is that upside volatility is a plus for the investment, and it, therefore, should not be included in the risk calculation. Therefore, the Sortino ratio takes upside volatility out of the equation and uses only the downside standard deviation in its calculation instead of the total standard deviation that is used in calculating the Sharpe ratio.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The ratio of annual return and downside deviation over 5 years of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is -0.21, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.5) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (0.42) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 0.06 is lower, thus worse.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (8.88 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 28 of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is larger, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio is 18 , which is higher, thus worse than the value of 11 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the maximum DrawDown of -61.9 days 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 (-33.7 days)
- Looking at maximum DrawDown in of -48 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (-33.7 days).

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (273 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 1244 days of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is larger, thus worse.
- Looking at maximum days below previous high in of 214 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (273 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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (57 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average days below previous high of 618 days of iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund is greater, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (73 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average days below previous high of 90 days is greater, thus worse.

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.
[Show Details]

- 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.