- CFA Exams
- 2024 Level I
- Topic 1. Quantitative Methods
- Learning Module 1. Rates and Returns
- Subject 4. Annualized Return

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##### Subject 4. Annualized Return PDF Download

**Annualized Return**

**Annualizing returns**allows for comparison among different assets and over different time periods.

_{annual}= (1 + r

_{period})

^{c}- 1

where c is the number of periods in a year and r

_{period}is the rate of return per period.

*Example*

Monthly return: 0.6%. The annualized return is (1 + 0.6%)

^{12}- 1 = 7.44%.

It is also possible to annualize returns that have been generated over holding periods of longer than one year. In these case, the number of periods per year becomes a fraction. For example, if an investment earns a 18% return over two years, its annualized return is: (1 + 0.18)

^{1/2}- 1 = 8.63%.

**Continuously Compounded Returns**

A

**discretely compounded rate of return**measures the rate of changes in the value of an asset over a period under the assumption that the number of compounding periods is countable. Most standard deposit and loan instruments are compounded at discrete and evenly spaced periods, such as annually or monthly. For example, suppose that the holding period return on a stock over a year is 50%. If the rate of return is compounded on a quarterly basis, the compounded quarterly rate of return on the stock is (1 + 0.5)

^{1/4}- 1 = 10.67%.

The

**continuously compounded rate of return**measures the rate of change in the value of an asset associated with a holding period under the assumption of continuously compounding. It is the natural logarithm of 1 plus the holding period return, or equivalently, the natural logarithm of the ending price over the beginning price. From t to t + 1:

S: stock price. R

_{t, t + 1}: the rate of return from t to t + 1

*Example 1*

S

_{0}= $30, S

_{1}= $34.50. ==> R

_{t, t + 1}= $34.50/$30 - 1 = 0.15, and r

_{0, 1}= 0.139762. The continuously compounded return is smaller than the associated holding period return.

*Example 2*

Assume that a particular stock has a price of $200 at the start of a period and a price of $250 at the end of that period. That is, S

_{0}= 200, and S

_{1}= 250.

Hence, R, the holding period return, is: R = [S

_{1}/ S

_{0}] - 1 = [250/200] - 1 = 25%.

Using the formula for the continuously compounded rate of return gives: ln(1+R) = ln(S

_{1}/ S

_{0}) = ln(1.25) = 0.223 or 22.3%.

In order to see why the latter is preferable, consider the following:

Suppose that the stock now falls from $250 to $200. Then, R = [200/250] - 1 = -0.2 or -20%. So, effectively, the stock has returned to its original price, but combining the two rates of return and averaging them gives [(0.25+ (-0.2)] / 2 = 0.05 / 2 = 0.025 or 2.5%, which is misleading, as in actual fact the stock has returned to its original price, and hence the return is effectively 0%.

However, ln(1+R) = ln[(1 + (-0.2)] = ln(0.8) = -0.223 or -22.3%, which is exactly the negative of the original return. Averaging these two rates gives [(0.223 + (-0.223)] / 2 = 0 / 2 = 0 or 0%, which is the true rate of return for the period.

Thus, a continuously compounded return gives a more accurate account of the true picture of the rate of return over a period.

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