Online Share Trading

Definition and Formula of Average Return

The return on investment in finance is simply the amount of profit you make from an investment. It includes any changes in the investment's value, such as dividends or interest payments, and/or cash flows the investor receives. It can either be expressed in absolute terms, or as a percentage of the investment (in currency). This is also known as the holding period return.

If the investment amount is greater than zero, then a loss is considered a negative return rather than a benefit.

To compare returns of different lengths over the same time period, it is helpful to convert each return into a return over a specified time period. The rate of return is the result of this conversion. The standard time frame is usually one year.

What is the average return?

The average return is the mathematical average of all returns over a given time period. It is also called the average rate or return (ARR). The average return can be measured in the same way that a simple average can be. Add the numbers together to create a single sum. The sum is then divided according to the total number of numbers.

It can be expressed mathematically as: The sum of all returns / the number of returns

What does the average return tell us?

An average return is a measure of the historical returns on a stock or security, or the returns on a company's portfolio. This is not the same as an annualized return. Compounded returns are not included in the average return.

Annualized returns vs. average return

Many investors consider annualized returns. Annualized returns, also called geometric returns, can be different from average returns.

Annualised returns take into account volatility. The annual rate of return is the one that takes you from your starting to your ending value, regardless of what has happened in the middle.

The average returns are basically the arithmetic average of all annual returns. The smoothing inherent to the annualised returns, even if the standard deviation is zero, will result in average returns that are often greater. The standard deviation is a measure of the difference between annualized returns and average returns.

There are pros and cons to using an average return

Flexibility in the time period to be analysed

The average return can be calculated for any time period an investor chooses. Each investor has a different time frame, i.e. how fast they want to sell the investment.

Eliminates outliers

Because it relies on averages, outlier statistics in data sets can be removed by the average rate process. This is especially useful for long-term averages where one year of losses can be minimized by many years of gains. Risk is part of all investments. The expected rate of return implicitly considers the impact of each investment on the overall return. One-off events that have an impact on the return of an investment are less important than steady, gradual patterns.

It's easy to compare

The average rate of return makes it easy to compare different investment types.

Cons of using average returns

Although it is a good indicator of internal returns and simple to use, there are some drawbacks to the average yield. It doesn't account for many ventures that might require different capital outlays.

The average return does not consider potential earnings-related costs. Instead, it only considers the expected cash flows from capital influx. The average return does not take into account the rate of reinvestment. Instead, it assumes that cash flows from capital influx will be able to be reinvented at rates similar to the internal rate. The average return calculation does not take into account the time value money. For example, 100 rupees today may have more value than it will in a year. Analysts and investors tend to use the cash-weighted return (or geometric mean) as an alternative valuation method due to the inherent defects in average returns.

Do you need to consider the average return of an investment instrument before making an investment?

It is important that you remember that past performance doesn't guarantee future results. However, historical returns can provide some insight into the investment's performance over time. The average annual return over 15 years is a good indicator of future performance. The short-term results are variable and even a look at the past 10 years may not show the full picture.


Both investors and financial analysts need tools to compare investment options. This can be a challenge when comparing different types of investments such as stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, and foreign currencies. Investors should compare the average rate return approach before committing money to any investment. An analyst or investor can get a good idea of the potential returns by looking at rates of return. They can also provide insight into past performance and help them to make informed decisions about their options. This simple ratio gives insight into historical returns for stock or security, or the returns of company portfolio.

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