'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:- The total return, or performance over 5 years of Microsoft is 228.2%, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (65.8%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the total return, or performance is 154.1%, which is larger, thus better than the value of 48.8% 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (10.6%) in the period of the last 5 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.9% of Microsoft is greater, thus better.
- During the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) is 36.6%, which is greater, thus better than the value of 14.2% from the benchmark.

'In finance, volatility (symbol σ) is the degree of variation of a trading price series over time as measured by the standard deviation of logarithmic returns. Historic volatility measures a time series of past market prices. Implied volatility looks forward in time, being derived from the market price of a market-traded derivative (in particular, an option). Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The 30 days standard deviation over 5 years of Microsoft is 23.6%, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (13.6%) in the same period.
- Looking at historical 30 days volatility in of 21.9% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (12.8%).

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (15%) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside deviation of 24.3% of Microsoft is higher, thus worse.
- Looking at downside risk in of 23.3% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (14.6%).

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the Sharpe Ratio of 1.03 in the last 5 years of Microsoft, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.6)
- During the last 3 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) is 1.56, which is larger, thus better than the value of 0.91 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 1 in the last 5 years of Microsoft, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.54)
- Compared with SPY (0.8) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 1.46 is greater, thus better.

'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:- Looking at the Ulcer Ratio of 5.49 in the last 5 years of Microsoft, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (4.03 )
- During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio is 3.68 , which is smaller, thus better than the value of 4.1 from the benchmark.

'Maximum drawdown is defined as the peak-to-trough decline of an investment during a specific period. It is usually quoted as a percentage of the peak value. The maximum drawdown can be calculated based on absolute returns, in order to identify strategies that suffer less during market downturns, such as low-volatility strategies. However, the maximum drawdown can also be calculated based on returns relative to a benchmark index, for identifying strategies that show steady outperformance over time.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (-19.3 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum reduction from previous high of -18.2 days of Microsoft is greater, thus better.
- Compared with SPY (-19.3 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley of -18.2 days is higher, thus better.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The maximum time in days below previous high water mark over 5 years of Microsoft is 124 days, which is smaller, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (187 days) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the maximum days below previous high is 112 days, which is lower, thus better than the value of 139 days from the benchmark.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (41 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average days under water of 29 days of Microsoft is lower, thus better.
- During the last 3 years, the average days under water is 19 days, which is smaller, thus better than the value of 35 days from the benchmark.

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.
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- "Year" returns in the table above are not equal to the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
- Performance results of Microsoft 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.