'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 over 5 years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals is 168.4%, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (120.8%) in the same period.
- Looking at total return in of 35.9% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (66.3%).

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over 5 years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals is 21.8%, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (17.2%) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (18.5%) in the period of the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.8% is lower, thus worse.

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the volatility of 36.7% in the last 5 years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (18.7%)
- Compared with SPY (22.4%) in the period of the last 3 years, the volatility of 36% is greater, thus worse.

'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 (13.6%) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside risk of 23.8% of Vertex Pharmaceuticals is greater, thus worse.
- Looking at downside risk in of 25.2% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (16.3%).

'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:- The ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) over 5 years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals is 0.53, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.78) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio is 0.23, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.71 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 excess return divided by the downside deviation of 0.81 in the last 5 years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (1.08)
- Compared with SPY (0.98) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 0.33 is lower, thus worse.

'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:- Looking at the Ulcer Ratio of 13 in the last 5 years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (5.59 )
- Compared with SPY (6.83 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 13 is greater, thus worse.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the maximum reduction from previous high of -31.7 days in the last 5 years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, we see it is relatively higher, thus better 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 drop from peak to valley of -31.7 days is larger, 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the maximum days under water of 195 days in the last 5 years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (139 days)
- Compared with SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum days below previous high of 195 days is larger, 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (33 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark of 58 days of Vertex Pharmaceuticals is higher, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark is 61 days, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 35 days from the benchmark.

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.