'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:- Looking at the total return, or increase in value of 46.1% in the last 5 years of iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (133.2%)
- Compared with SPY (80.4%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value of 32.1% is smaller, thus worse.

'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 (18.5%) in the period of the last 5 years, the annual performance (CAGR) of 7.9% of iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund is smaller, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (21.8%) in the period of the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.7% 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 historical 30 days volatility of 16.2% in the last 5 years of iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (18.7%)
- Compared with SPY (22.4%) in the period of the last 3 years, the volatility of 18.6% is lower, thus better.

'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 11.9% in the last 5 years of iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.6%)
- Looking at downside deviation in of 13.6% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to SPY (16.2%).

'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:- The Sharpe Ratio over 5 years of iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund is 0.33, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.85) in the same period.
- Looking at Sharpe Ratio in of 0.39 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to SPY (0.86).

'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 ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 0.45 in the last 5 years of iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (1.18)
- Compared with SPY (1.19) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 0.53 is lower, thus worse.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The Downside risk index over 5 years of iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund is 9.1 , which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (5.59 ) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (6.36 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Downside risk index of 6.15 is lower, thus better.

'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:- The maximum reduction from previous high over 5 years of iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund is -30.7 days, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the same period.
- Looking at maximum drop from peak to valley in of -28.3 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to SPY (-33.7 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 701 days in the last 5 years of iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (139 days)
- During the last 3 years, the maximum days under water is 222 days, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 119 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:- Looking at the average time in days below previous high water mark of 224 days in the last 5 years of iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (32 days)
- During the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark is 62 days, which is higher, thus worse than the value of 25 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 iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund 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.