'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:- Looking at the total return, or performance of 85.7% in the last 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index Fund, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (74.4%)
- During the last 3 years, the total return is 42.7%, which is greater, thus better than the value of 34.2% 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the annual performance (CAGR) of 13.2% in the last 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index Fund, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (11.8%)
- Looking at annual performance (CAGR) in of 12.6% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to SPY (10.3%).

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The volatility over 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index Fund is 22%, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (18.9%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the historical 30 days volatility is 25.8%, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 22.6% 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 (13.8%) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside deviation of 16.3% of Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index Fund is greater, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (16.7%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside risk of 19.2% is greater, 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The Sharpe Ratio over 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index Fund is 0.49, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.49) in the same period.
- Looking at ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) in of 0.39 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to SPY (0.35).

'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:- The ratio of annual return and downside deviation over 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index Fund is 0.66, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.67) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile is 0.53, which is higher, thus better than the value of 0.47 from the benchmark.

'The Ulcer Index is a technical indicator that measures downside risk, in terms of both the depth and duration of price declines. The index increases in value as the price moves farther away from a recent high and falls as the price rises to new highs. The indicator is usually calculated over a 14-day period, with the Ulcer Index showing the percentage drawdown a trader can expect from the high over that period. The greater the value of the Ulcer Index, the longer it takes for a stock to get back to the former high.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The Ulcer Index over 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index Fund is 7.49 , which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (5.82 ) in the same period.
- Looking at Ulcer Index in of 8.73 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (7.13 ).

'A maximum drawdown is the maximum loss from a peak to a trough of a portfolio, before a new peak is attained. Maximum Drawdown is an indicator of downside risk over a specified time period. It can be used both as a stand-alone measure or as an input into other metrics such as 'Return over Maximum Drawdown' and the Calmar Ratio. Maximum Drawdown is expressed in percentage terms.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The maximum drop from peak to valley over 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index Fund is -38.7 days, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley of -38.7 days is lower, thus worse.

'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 time in days below previous high water mark over 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index Fund is 208 days, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (139 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 208 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The average days under water over 5 years of Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index Fund is 42 days, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (37 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (45 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average days below previous high of 51 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 Vanguard Small Cap Growth 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.