'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 investmentâ€™s overall performance.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (77.6%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return, or performance of 114.5% of Vertex Pharmaceuticals is larger, thus better.
- Looking at total return, or performance in of 178% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to SPY (53.5%).

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (12.2%) in the period of the last 5 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.5% of Vertex Pharmaceuticals is higher, thus better.
- Compared with SPY (15.4%) in the period of the last 3 years, the annual return (CAGR) of 40.6% is higher, thus better.

'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 historical 30 days volatility of 36.8% in the last 5 years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.3%)
- During the last 3 years, the historical 30 days volatility is 33.4%, which is higher, thus worse than the value of 13% 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The downside deviation over 5 years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals is 23.5%, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (9.6%) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (9.4%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside volatility of 18.4% is larger, thus worse.

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) over 5 years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals is 0.38, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.73) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) is 1.14, which is greater, thus better than the value of 0.99 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The downside risk / excess return profile over 5 years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals is 0.6, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (1.01) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (1.37) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 2.07 is greater, thus better.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (3.97 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Index of 21 of Vertex Pharmaceuticals is higher, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio is 8.15 , which is larger, thus worse than the value of 4.1 from the benchmark.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (-19.3 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley of -49.1 days of Vertex Pharmaceuticals is lower, thus worse.
- Looking at maximum reduction from previous high in of -21.2 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (-19.3 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) in days.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The maximum days below previous high over 5 years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals is 481 days, which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (187 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 195 days is greater, thus worse.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the average time in days below previous high water mark of 128 days in the last 5 years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (42 days)
- Compared with SPY (37 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average days under water of 51 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 Vertex 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.