Initial Return is the product of a collaboration between finance professionals, academics, and investors. We produce high-quality, educational content for investors, traders, and finance students.
What is idiosyncratic risk? It is the type of risk that affects either a single security such as a stock or a small group of securities. This is in contrast to systematic risk, which affects all risky securities in a particular market. The word “idiosyncratic” does not commonly feature in daily language. Many people may […]
Different stocks offer different levels of expected return. What causes stock A’s expected return to be higher than stock B’s expected return? How does the expected return on a risky asset relate to the risk-free rate of return? In this post, we answer both questions by introducing the concept of risk premium. Jump to: Risk […]
We, humans, have a general tendency to avoid taking risks when we can, a notion that we refer to as risk aversion. This has the important implication that when we are faced with a choice between a safe payoff and a risky one, we’d opt for the latter only if it entails a sufficient risk […]
In daily language, “fair game” can be used to suggest that something or someone can be an object of criticism (perhaps because of their behavior or nature). But, what about the meaning of fair game in an economic or financial context? In such a context, a fair game can be defined as a game in […]
It is clear that some people are more comfortable investing in risky stocks than others. In a similar vein, some firms carry significantly more operational risks and/or financial risks than their competitors. Therefore, the appetite for risk varies across both firms and individuals. But, what is risk appetite? Generally speaking, an individual’s or an organization’s […]
In this tutorial, we explain how to calculate the correlation between two stocks and how to construct a correlation matrix using Excel. Jump to: Using Excel to calculate correlations between pairs of stocks Here is a simple, step-by-step guide to obtaining the correlation coefficient between the returns of two stocks. That is it! This should […]
Sequence of returns risk is the risk that your investments will fall sharply in the first 5-10 years of retirement and larger returns will not come soon enough to allow them to recover. This risk is specific to the descent stage of your financial journey, when you are drawing an income from your investments in […]
The risk-free rate is the rate of return earned on a risk-free asset. While returns on risky assets such as stocks are uncertain, the key distinction of the risk-free rate of return is that we know its exact value at the time of investment. For example, we may expect a stock to yield 8% over […]
We start this lesson by discussing what is meant by (stock) return volatility. Then, we explain the return volatility formula. Finally, a simple return volatility calculator is provided for your convenience. Jump to: What is (stock) return volatility? Imagine an investor who bought shares of a stock three years ago. According to the investor’s calculations, […]
In this lesson, we introduce a simple yet really useful measure of investment performance. In particular, we discuss the arithmetic average return formula and provide a practical arithmetic average return calculator. It is really important for investors to be able to accurately assess the performance of their investments. In that sense, arithmetic average (or mean) […]
Step-by-step tutorials:
Downloading stock price data
Plotting stock prices and returns
Creating a histogram of stock returns
Descriptive statistics for stock returns
Computing the correlation between two stocks
Modern portfolio theory:
Portfolio return
Portfolio risk
Efficient frontier
Optimal risky portfolio
Market equilibrium:
Capital asset pricing model (CAPM)
Arbitrage pricing theory (APT)