'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 Vanguard Information Tech ETF is 152.7%, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (88.1%) in the same period.
- Looking at total return, or increase in value in of 33.9% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to SPY (26.1%).

'The compound annual growth rate isn't a true return rate, but rather a representational figure. It is essentially a number that describes the rate at which an investment would have grown if it had grown the same rate every year and the profits were reinvested at the end of each year. In reality, this sort of performance is unlikely. However, CAGR can be used to smooth returns so that they may be more easily understood when compared to alternative investments.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (13.5%) in the period of the last 5 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.4% of Vanguard Information Tech ETF is larger, thus better.
- Compared with SPY (8.1%) in the period of the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) of 10.2% is higher, thus better.

'Volatility is a statistical measure of the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index. Volatility can either be measured by using the standard deviation or variance between returns from that same security or market index. Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security. In the securities markets, volatility is often associated with big swings in either direction. For example, when the stock market rises and falls more than one percent over a sustained period of time, it is called a 'volatile' market.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the 30 days standard deviation of 27.5% in the last 5 years of Vanguard Information Tech ETF, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (20.9%)
- During the last 3 years, the volatility is 24.7%, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 17.3% from the benchmark.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (15%) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside volatility of 19.2% of Vanguard Information Tech ETF is greater, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the downside deviation is 17.1%, which is higher, thus worse than the value of 12.1% from the benchmark.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.65 in the last 5 years of Vanguard Information Tech ETF, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.52)
- During the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio is 0.31, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of 0.32 from the benchmark.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The ratio of annual return and downside deviation over 5 years of Vanguard Information Tech ETF is 0.93, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.73) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (0.46) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 0.45 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (9.33 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Index of 13 of Vanguard Information Tech ETF is greater, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Index is 16 , which is larger, thus worse than the value of 10 from the benchmark.

'Maximum drawdown is defined as the peak-to-trough decline of an investment during a specific period. It is usually quoted as a percentage of the peak value. The maximum drawdown can be calculated based on absolute returns, in order to identify strategies that suffer less during market downturns, such as low-volatility strategies. However, the maximum drawdown can also be calculated based on returns relative to a benchmark index, for identifying strategies that show steady outperformance over time.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum DrawDown of -35.1 days of Vanguard Information Tech ETF is smaller, thus worse.
- Looking at maximum DrawDown in of -35.1 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to SPY (-24.5 days).

'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). Many assume Max DD Duration is the length of time between new highs during which the Max DD (magnitude) occurred. But that isn’t always the case. The Max DD duration is the longest time between peaks, period. So it could be the time when the program also had its biggest peak to valley loss (and usually is, because the program needs a long time to recover from the largest loss), but it doesn’t have to be'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (488 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 477 days of Vanguard Information Tech ETF is lower, thus better.
- Looking at maximum days below previous high in of 477 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to SPY (488 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (123 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average days below previous high of 114 days of Vanguard Information Tech ETF is lower, thus better.
- Looking at average days under water in of 168 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (179 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 Vanguard Information Tech ETF 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.