'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:- The total return over 5 years of Vanguard Short Term Treasury Fund is 2.2%, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (60.7%) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (29.5%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value of -1.8% 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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (10%) in the period of the last 5 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.4% of Vanguard Short Term Treasury Fund is smaller, thus worse.
- Looking at annual performance (CAGR) in of -0.6% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to SPY (9%).

'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 volatility of 1.7% in the last 5 years of Vanguard Short Term Treasury Fund, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (20.8%)
- Compared with SPY (24%) in the period of the last 3 years, the volatility of 1.8% is lower, thus better.

'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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (15.3%) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside risk of 1.1% of Vanguard Short Term Treasury Fund is lower, thus better.
- During the last 3 years, the downside risk is 1.3%, which is lower, thus better than the value of 17.6% 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the Sharpe Ratio of -1.25 in the last 5 years of Vanguard Short Term Treasury Fund, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.36)
- During the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio is -1.74, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of 0.27 from the benchmark.

'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 excess return divided by the downside deviation of -1.81 in the last 5 years of Vanguard Short Term Treasury Fund, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.49)
- Compared with SPY (0.37) in the period of the last 3 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation of -2.37 is smaller, thus worse.

'The ulcer index is a stock market risk measure or technical analysis indicator devised by Peter Martin in 1987, and published by him and Byron McCann in their 1989 book The Investors Guide to Fidelity Funds. It's designed as a measure of volatility, but only volatility in the downward direction, i.e. the amount of drawdown or retracement occurring over a period. Other volatility measures like standard deviation treat up and down movement equally, but a trader doesn't mind upward movement, it's the downside that causes stress and stomach ulcers that the index's name suggests.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the Ulcer Ratio of 1.49 in the last 5 years of Vanguard Short Term Treasury Fund, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (7.52 )
- During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio is 1.87 , which is lower, thus better than the value of 8.81 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:- Looking at the maximum drop from peak to valley of -6.2 days in the last 5 years of Vanguard Short Term Treasury Fund, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days)
- Compared with SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum reduction from previous high of -6.2 days is greater, thus better.

'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:- The maximum days below previous high over 5 years of Vanguard Short Term Treasury Fund is 325 days, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (182 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (182 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 325 days is greater, 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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (45 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average days below previous high of 97 days of Vanguard Short Term Treasury Fund is larger, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark is 95 days, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 43 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 Short Term Treasury 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.