'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:- The total return, or performance over 5 years of Alexion Pharmaceuticals is 43.4%, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (78.4%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value is 35%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 44.1% from the benchmark.

'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 Alexion Pharmaceuticals is 7.5%, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (12.3%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) is 10.5%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 12.9% from the benchmark.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the historical 30 days volatility of 38.3% in the last 5 years of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (19.9%)
- Looking at historical 30 days volatility in of 39% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to SPY (23.1%).

'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:- The downside risk over 5 years of Alexion Pharmaceuticals is 25.2%, which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (14.6%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the downside volatility is 24.9%, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 16.9% from the benchmark.

'The Sharpe ratio is the measure of risk-adjusted return of a financial portfolio. Sharpe ratio is a measure of excess portfolio return over the risk-free rate relative to its standard deviation. Normally, the 90-day Treasury bill rate is taken as the proxy for risk-free rate. A portfolio with a higher Sharpe ratio is considered superior relative to its peers. The measure was named after William F Sharpe, a Nobel laureate and professor of finance, emeritus at Stanford University.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.13 in the last 5 years of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.49)
- Compared with SPY (0.45) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.21 is lower, thus worse.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.67) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 0.2 of Alexion Pharmaceuticals is lower, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation is 0.32, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.62 from the benchmark.

'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:- The Ulcer Ratio over 5 years of Alexion Pharmaceuticals is 19 , which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (6.16 ) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (6.87 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 19 is larger, thus worse.

'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:- Looking at the maximum drop from peak to valley of -48.5 days in the last 5 years of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse 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 -46.5 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 (139 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum days below previous high of 816 days of Alexion Pharmaceuticals is larger, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (119 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum days under water of 423 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The average days below previous high over 5 years of Alexion Pharmaceuticals is 292 days, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (35 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (27 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark of 140 days is greater, thus worse.

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 Alexion Pharmaceuticals 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.