'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the total return of 26.8% in the last 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Index Fund, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (67.9%)
- During the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value is 33.5%, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of 44.5% from the benchmark.

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (10.9%) in the period of the last 5 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.9% of Vanguard Small Cap Index Fund is lower, thus worse.
- Looking at annual performance (CAGR) in of 10.1% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (13.1%).

'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:- The historical 30 days volatility over 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Index Fund is 25.5%, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (21.4%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the volatility is 22.7%, which is higher, thus worse than the value of 18.7% 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the downside deviation of 18.6% in the last 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Index Fund, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (15.4%)
- During the last 3 years, the downside volatility is 16%, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 13.3% 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.39) in the period of the last 5 years, the Sharpe Ratio of 0.09 of Vanguard Small Cap Index Fund is lower, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (0.56) in the period of the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 0.34 is smaller, thus worse.

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 0.13 in the last 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Index Fund, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.55)
- Compared with SPY (0.79) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 0.48 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The Ulcer Ratio over 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Index Fund is 13 , which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (9.47 ) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Index is 13 , which is larger, thus worse than the value of 10 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The maximum reduction from previous high over 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Index Fund is -41.8 days, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (-24.5 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley of -28.2 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (354 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum days under water of 392 days of Vanguard Small Cap Index Fund is greater, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (354 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum days under water of 392 days is higher, 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the average days under water of 124 days in the last 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Index Fund, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (79 days)
- During the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark is 118 days, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 102 days from the benchmark.

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 Small Cap 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.