'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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (67.8%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return, or increase in value of 43.4% of Alexion Pharmaceuticals is smaller, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (44.5%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or performance of 35% is smaller, thus worse.

'Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a business and investing specific term for the geometric progression ratio that provides a constant rate of return over the time period. CAGR is not an accounting term, but it is often used to describe some element of the business, for example revenue, units delivered, registered users, etc. CAGR dampens the effect of volatility of periodic returns that can render arithmetic means irrelevant. It is particularly useful to compare growth rates from various data sets of common domain such as revenue growth of companies in the same industry.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The annual performance (CAGR) over 5 years of Alexion Pharmaceuticals is 7.5%, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (10.9%) 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 13.1% from the benchmark.

'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 Alexion Pharmaceuticals is 38.3%, which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (21.4%) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (18.8%) in the period of the last 3 years, the volatility of 39% is greater, thus worse.

'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:- Looking at the downside risk of 25.2% in the last 5 years of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (15.4%)
- During the last 3 years, the downside deviation is 24.9%, which is higher, thus worse than the value of 13.3% 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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.39) in the period of the last 5 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.13 of Alexion Pharmaceuticals is lower, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) is 0.21, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.56 from the benchmark.

'The Sortino ratio measures the risk-adjusted return of an investment asset, portfolio, or strategy. It is a modification of the Sharpe ratio but penalizes only those returns falling below a user-specified target or required rate of return, while the Sharpe ratio penalizes both upside and downside volatility equally. Though both ratios measure an investment's risk-adjusted return, they do so in significantly different ways that will frequently lead to differing conclusions as to the true nature of the investment's return-generating efficiency. The Sortino ratio is used as a way to compare the risk-adjusted performance of programs with differing risk and return profiles. In general, risk-adjusted returns seek to normalize the risk across programs and then see which has the higher return unit per risk.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 0.2 in the last 5 years of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.55)
- Looking at excess return divided by the downside deviation in of 0.32 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (0.79).

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (9.46 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Index of 19 of Alexion Pharmaceuticals is higher, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (10 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Downside risk index of 19 is higher, 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.'

Which means for our asset as 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 lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days)
- Looking at maximum drop from peak to valley in of -46.5 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, 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:- Looking at the maximum days below previous high of 816 days in the last 5 years of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (352 days)
- During the last 3 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark is 423 days, which is higher, thus worse than the value of 352 days from the benchmark.

'The Average 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. 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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (78 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average days below previous high of 292 days of Alexion Pharmaceuticals is higher, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (102 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark of 140 days is higher, 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.