Terms Beginning With 'a'

Alpha

What is alpha?

Alpha is the extra return that an investor earns over and above the benchmark index. Alpha helps in determining the highest possible return with respect to the least amount of risk.

The above formula is that of the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) model, which determines the return an investor needs to realise to balance a particular risk.

Simplifying Alpha

We will take an example to understand the concept of alpha. Let us consider that a portfolio manager expects that his/her client’s portfolio would generate a return of 14% next year. However, the actual portfolio return after one year was 16%. In this case, alpha, or excess return, is 2%.

Let us consider another example where an investor gets a return of 20% on his investment on a particular mutual fund while the benchmark index has delivered a return of 18%. It means that the stock has outperformed the benchmark index by 2%. Similarly, if the mutual fund has delivered a return of 18% and the benchmark index has delivered a return of 20%, then the fund has underperformed compared to the benchmark index.

In mutual funds, alpha denotes the performance of the fund manager. In simple words, the higher the value of alpha (α), the better is the fund manager’s performance.

Hence, the higher the alpha value, the higher the chances of the mutual fund delivering improved returns.

It is also important to note that alpha is calculated annually.

How do we calculate alpha?

From the CAPM formula highlighted above, we can derive the equation of alpha.

α = R – [Rf + β (Rm – Rf)]

  1. In the first step of α calculation, it the identification of risk-free rate. It can determine based on the average annual return of government security.
  2. In step two, we find the market return. To find the market return, one can track the benchmark index’s annual return over a considerable time frame.
  3. In the third step, deduct the risk-free return from the market return. This will give you the value of the risk premium.
  4. The fourth step involves assessing the movement of the stock price as compared to the benchmark index. This would return the value of beta.
  5. Now calculate the value of the mutual fund or the portfolio or stock using the values calculated in step 1, 2, 3 and 4.
  6. Once we get the value of R, Rf, Rm, and β, we place them in the formula of alpha to get the value of alpha.

What is the significance of alpha?

When we use alpha while making an investment decision, one can see how the fund has performed as compared to the benchmark index. An investor prefers a positive alpha fund instead of a fund with a negative return. A positive alpha value provides an additional return to the overall return on the fund.

For example, if the alpha value is +3 and the fund has delivered a negative return of 10%, then with the positive alpha, the fund’s overall return would be -7% instead of -10%.

Difference between alpha and beta        

Alpha and beta are two standard terms used for measuring investment risk. These are the part of modern portfolio theory. Beta measures the volatility of the asset, while alpha  measures the assets return compared to risk-adjusted expected return.

While making any investment decision, alpha should not be the only parameter while selecting a particular fund or stock. One should also look at beta, standard deviation, and Sharpe ratio to make a call.

As alpha helps to determine the performance of the fund manager, a wise investor would do his/her homework and study those funds with higher alpha value. Simultaneously, one must ensure that the fund selected has a consistent track record of having a positive alpha value. This would not only help in understanding the fund manager’s performance but also give an idea of how the fund would do in the future.

In the recent past, the absolute return approach of Investing has turned out to be one of the fastest-growing investment strategies worldwide. A lot of financial advisors talk about such investments providing absolute returns. So, what exactly are the “Absolute Returns” and are they are promising? What is meant by Absolute return? Absolute return computes the increase or decrease, in an asset over a period of time, as a proportion of the original investment amount. The focus here is only on that specific asset or portfolio and not related market events. Absolute returns only consider the price movement for any specified time period. Absolute return, reckons an investment’s performance without considering the expanse of time for which investment was committed. Absolute returns can be computed for a quarter, semi- annual, annual period, 3-year duration or more. Absolute Returns are independent of Market movements and thus do not draw relative comparisons. It is one of the most commonly used investment performance metric in Hedge Funds and Mutual Funds. How to compute Absolute return? Suppose an investor Mr. Rich, invested AUD 50,000 5 years back, and the current value of his investment is AUD 75,000. The Absolute return on Mr. Rich’s investment would be 50 %, calculated using- Copyright © 2021 Kalkine Media Pty Ltd Copyright © 2021 Kalkine Media Pty Ltd So, Copyright © 2021 Kalkine Media Pty Ltd Absolute returns are just returns from point of time to other. The notion of an 'absolute return' seems very attractive to get investors’ attention as it ignores the relative market movement and promises an appreciation with zero correlation to markets. Anyhow, Absolute Return technique of computing investment yields is an apt way of calculating return on investment, predominantly in the early stages. There are numerous other types of return metrics an investor can look for later on. Major 4 types mattering most to investors being –  Absolute Return, Relative Return, Total Return & CAGR. What is the difference between Absolute Return, Relative Return, Total Return & CAGR? Absolute return refers to the gain/ loss in a single investment asset/ portfolio but to comprehend how their investments are acting relative to various market yardsticks, relative return is taken into consideration.   Relative return is the excess or deficit an asset achieves over a timeframe matched to a market index. Benchmark Return – Absolute return, gives the Relative return also called sometimes as alpha. Example, if S&P index gives a 10% return during a given period and one’s investment portfolio gives an absolute return of 12% then relative return on investment is positive/ excess 2%. Total returns take into account the effect of intermittent incomes as well as dividends. For example, in an equity investment of AUD 200 having current value AUD 240, the company also declares a dividend of AUD 10 during the year. Total returns will take into account this $10 dividend too. Thus, Total returns on the investment of AUD 200 now will be 25.00% = {(240+10-200)/200} x 100 Absolute and Total returns are easy to calculate as performance metrics, but the real challenge is when comparisons are drawn based on time period of return. Here comes in CAGR, it takes into account the term of the investment too, thus giving a more correct and comparable picture. It is computed as: CAGR (%) = Absolute Return / Investment period (equated in years) Consider for example, two investment options: One where investor earns absolute returns of 10% in 24 months and another where investor earns 5% absolute returns in 9-month duration. So, CAGR would be- For option one: CAGR = 5.00% i.e.  10%/2 (24 months/12 months is equals to 2 years) For option two: CAGR = 6.66% i.e. 5%/0.75 (9 months/12 months is equals to 0.75 years) What’s wrong with just measuring investment performance using Absolute Returns? Absolute returns will only tell an investor how much his/her investments grew by; they do not tell anything about the speed at which investments grew. When people talk about their real estate investments and say, “I bought that house for X in the year 2004. It’s worth 4X today! It has quadrupled in 17 years.” This is an application of absolute return. The drawback here is that it takes into account only the capital appreciation and doesn’t draw comparison with options having different time horizons. Investors can rely on this measure of investment performance only if they are looking for higher returns, without bothering how fast they were generated. Absolute return also doesn’t convey much about an investment compared to relative markets. Then, why do Hedge Fund/ Mutual Fund Managers choose an Investment strategy based on Absolute returns? Absolute returns should be used at times when investors are willing to shoulder some risk in exchange for a prospective to earn excess returns. This is irrespective of the timeframe and Fund administrators who measure portfolio performance in relation of an absolute return typically aim to develop a portfolio that is spread across asset categories, topography, and economic phases. They are looking for below mentioned points in their portfolios- Positive returns- An absolute returns approach of investment targets at producing positive returns at all costs, irrespective of the upside & downside market movements. Independent of yardsticks- The returns are in absolute terms and not in comparison to a benchmark yield or a market index. Diversification of portfolio- With the intention of distribution of risk, among different investment options producing positive returns in diverse ways a mixed bag of absolute return assets give a diversified investment portfolio. Less volatility- The total risk of investment is spread across the different asset held in such a portfolio. Ensuring less overall volatility in collective returns. Actively adjustable to market movements– Usually, investments look for positive returns with zero market correlation. Market shares a negative correlation with absolute return investments and vice versa. In any investment atmosphere, there are varied investment strategies and goals. Absolute return investment strategies are looking to avoid systemic risks using unconventional assets and derivatives, short selling, arbitrage and leverage. It is appropriate for investors who are prepared to bear risk for short and long-term gains.

  What is Nasdaq?  Nasdaq Stock Market is a global electronic marketplace for buying and selling securities on an automatic, transparent and speedy electronic network. It trades through a computer system rather than in a physical trading floor for the traders to trade directly between them. It is an American stock exchange located in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan in New York City. NASDAQ is owned by the company Nasdaq. Inc. and ranked second on the list of stock exchanges as per market capitalisation of shares traded. The first rank goes to the New York Stock Exchange. Nasdaq-National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations, was founded in 1971 by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) to avoid inefficient trading and delays. Nasdaq. Inc. company also owns the Nasdaq Nordic stock market network in addition to other exchanges. The exchange has more than 3,100 companies listed. They are the highest trade volume companies in the US market, valued more than US$14 trillion in total.  Good read: NASDAQ surged up above 10,000 – Tech stocks setting a new benchmark   What is Nasdaq known for?  Nasdaq currently is the largest electronic stock market, and it is most well-known for its high-tech stocks. But it also has a variety of companies listed such as capital goods, healthcare, consumer durables and nondurables, energy, public utilities, finance and transportation.  Nasdaq boasts of having some of the largest blue-chip companies in the world and attracts high growth-oriented companies. Its stocks are known to be volatile than those listed on other exchanges. Apart from listed stocks, Nasdaq also trades in over the counter (OTC) stocks. The ticker symbols for the listed companies’ stocks on the Nasdaq have four or five letters.  The Nasdaq Composite index was initially termed as Nasdaq. It included all the stocks listed on Nasdaq stock market and also many stocks listed on Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index. The index has more than 3,000 stocks listed on it which include the world’s largest technology and biotech giants like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, Gilead Sciences, Tesla and Intel.    Did you read: Blue-chip stocks: Value versus Growth in Covid-19 Era   Companies have to meet certain criteria to get listed on the NASDAQ National Market.  The entities have to meet financial, liquidity, and corporate governance-related requirements. Have to get registered with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Have to maintain the stock price of at least US$1. Company’s value of outstanding stocks must total at least US$1.1 million.   The small companies which cannot meet the criteria can get listed on NASDAQ Small Caps Market. Nasdaq changes the companies as the eligibility of the companies keeps changing.  Image: Kalkine   What are different Nasdaq indexes?  Nasdaq uses an index to list its stocks like any other stock exchange. The index delivers stock performance snapshots. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) as its primary index; it tracks the stock price of 30 big companies. Nasdaq Composite and the Nasdaq 100 are two indices of Nasdaq. Nasdaq Composite measures the performance of more than 3,100 listed companies’ stocks trading daily on Nasdaq. Nasdaq 100 is a modified capitalisation-weighted index. This index has listed companies from various sectors, but the majority is from the technology industry. Depending on their market value, Nasdaq adds or removes the companies from its index Nasdaq 100.  Both the NASDAQ Composite and the NASDAQ 100 indexes have listed companies from the United States as well as global companies. On the other hand, Dow Jones Industrial Average index does not include companies outside of the US.    Did you read: Hanging Up Your Boots? Investment Strategies to Help you Relax and Build Wealth   Brief history  Nasdaq performance in the past has been groundbreaking and extraordinary. One of its highly regarded accomplishments is that Nasdaq was the first-ever stock exchange for offering electronic trading. It was the first to launch a website and stored all the records in the cloud. Interestingly, Nasdaq also sold its technology to other stock exchanges. Nasdaq invented the modern Initial Public Offering (IPO) as it listed venture-capital-backed companies. Initially, it merged with the American Stock Exchange. It formed the Nasdaq-AMEX Market Group, later on, the AMEX index was acquired by NYSE Euronext, and the entire data was integrated into NYSE. In 2007 Nasdaq acquired OMX which is a Swedish-Finnish financial company. Followed by which Nasdaq changed its name to NASDAQ OMX Group. NASDAQ OMX Group bought the Boston Stock Exchange and also the Philadelphia Stock Exchange which was the oldest stock exchange in the US.  Also read: Nasdaq index’s Tech Titans kicks off with Bold Performances   How to trade on Nasdaq?  Though the New York Stock Exchange is the largest exchange by market capitalisation, Nasdaq is the largest by trading volume due to its electronic quote mechanism. Nasdaq is a dealer’s market where the public buys and sells stocks with the help of the market maker (a registered broker/dealer). The market maker provides the buy and sell quotes and takes the position in those stocks. NYSE works differently as the buyers and sellers can trade directly with each other, and a specialist allows the trade. On Nasdaq, the market maker owns inventory and trade stocks in his/her capacity. Good read: Why NASDAQ Composite index plunged 5%?

In 2013, the television host of CNBC's Mad Money, Mr Jim Cramer addressed few stocks as “totally dominant in their markets”. He was referring to tech titans and named them FAANG stocks (where the extra “A” was added 5 years later, in 2017). ALSO READ: Investment in Technology Stocks - A Beginner's Guide What Are FAANG Stocks? “FAANG” is perhaps one of the most popular abbreviation of the business world. The acronym illustrates stocks of the famous five US-based technology corporations- first being social media giant Facebook Inc., followed by software and hardware developer Apple Inc., the e-commerce magnate Amazon.com Inc., and the streaming service provider Netflix Inc., along with the last FAANG member, internet ace Alphabet Inc. (formerly recognised as Google). Originally, the acronym was FANG (with an “A” for Amazon.). In 2017, investors included Apple in the group, turning the acronym into FAANG. There is an interesting fact here- The original four FANG stocks were pure internet-based companies, but the later inclusion of Apple, that is a consumer hardware manufacturer, made FAANG stocks a broader group of giant technology stocks. Widely renowned among consumers, unique in their products and services, these stocks are of few of the largest companies in the world. They trade on the NASDAQ Exchange and are included in the S&P 500 Index, making up approximately 15 per cent of the index. Market experts believe that since these stocks have a large influence on the index, they tend to have a substantial effect on the performance of the S&P 500, in general. GOOD READ: FAANGs Defining Resilience Amid Market Downtrends Why Are FAANG Stocks Popular?  FAANG companies exhibit several competitive advantages that make them attractive long-term investments. Consider this- Facebook rules social networking, Amazon is the one-stop destination to buy goods online in today’s digital world; Apple’s iPhones are one of the most used and well-renowned gadgets globally; Netflix is considered to be a leader of online streaming; whereas Google is the search engine used comprehensively almost every day, everywhere. These disruptive companies benefit from what is known as the network effect (indirect value goods and services gain as more people use them). Facebook’s products are valuable to new users because of its vast other active users. Amazon’s Prime service brings millions of shoppers to its marketplace every day, making its seller services more attractive to third-party merchants. Millions of Netflix viewers provide feedback for the kind of content the company should invest in. Lock-in effect of the Apple ecosystem creates substantial switching costs for iOS users. FAANG companies have intangible assets. This opens doors to the possibility of producing higher levels of profitability than rival companies. Consider this- Facebook, Amazon, and Google have troves of user data to pursue advertisements. Netflix offers original content, exclusive licenses that make its content library unique. Apple, on the other hand, is one of the few technology companies that makes hardware as well as software for its devices. FAANG players contribute to radical lifestyle change. One obvious reason for the popularity of these market darlings is that each FAANG company has been known to transform not just their own industries and the markets, but also how we all live in the current contemporary lifestyles. What is the significance of FAANG Constituents? As the heavy weighting of FAANG stocks in indexes like the S&P 500 gives them an outsized impact on the broader stock market, it seems worthwhile for investors to learn a bit about them. How is Investing Community Exposed to FAANG Stocks? FAANG stocks have historically outperformed the S&P 500 index. Over the last decade, this famous group accounted for a large portion of the market’s gains and American economy growth. This seems obvious given that FAANG companies have a hoard of competitive advantages making them seem like lucrative long-term investments. Offering perhaps the hottest technology trends, FAANG stocks demonstrate strong sales and earnings growth. Each FAANG company is listed on the NASDAQ, so purchasing their shares is a straightforward process for most investors. The easiest path could possibly be via online brokerage account with companies that offer this service. At this point, it should be noted that FAANG stocks aren’t cheap. For instance, for most of 2019, one share of Google sold for well over USD 1,000 and Amazon traded above USD 1,500. However, a wise investor knows that past results do not guarantee future success. Sinusoidal equity market trends deserve closer attention to a lot of other aspects before making any investment decision. Therefore, investing in FAANG stocks should be vigilantly based on one’s research of fundamental and technical aspects and risk appetite. GOOD READ: Investing Tips: 4 Reasons Big Techs can always stay your best pal Are There Any Risks Associated to Investing in FAANG Stocks? Market experts believe that there are no sure plays in the investing world. Simply put, there is a risk in every aspect of investing. Though favourable market conditions and investor enthusiasm for technology seems to be here for good, global uncertainties always should be considered. Overly bullish expectations coupled with certain political pressures and economic worries may hinder these big techs’ growth. Some experts opine that as these companies continue to mature amid mounting worldwide risks, it may get increasingly difficult for them to maintain their rapid growth pace. Legal Regulatory, market and operational risks of these FAANG players need to be considered before taking any exposure to FAANG stocks. Amazon and Google have often come under regulatory examination for potential anti-competitive business practices. Facebook and Google have faced criticism for lack of data privacy and security. On the other hand, Netflix has encountered new competitors in streaming video and as few reports suggest, a huge debt load linked with content production. Valuations of FAANG players should be well justified viz-a-viz earnings guidance of these players, before taking any investment exposure. Are There Global Peers to FAANG Stocks? Just like FAANG stocks, there are several groups of companies that can be looked upon as peers to the tech group. Let us cast an eye on similar groups- The Australian variant, WAAAX stocks comprises WiseTech Global Limited (ASX:WTC), Appen Limited (ASX:APX), Altium Limited (ASX:ALU), Afterpay Limited (ASX:APT) and Xero Limited (ASX:XRO). GAFAM is an acronym for the five most popular US. tech stocks: Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft.  BATX is the abbreviation for the four popular technology stocks from China: Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi. TAND, which comprise of Tesla, Activision, Nvidia and Disney are often looked up as future giants of tech. TANJ stocks in Hong Kong comprise Tencent, Alibaba, NetEase and JD.com. The Canadian big tech club DOCKS constitutes Descartes Systems, Open Text, Constellation Software, Kinaxis and Shopify. Do You Know These Interesting Facts About FAANG Stocks? The FAANG group has been a stock market superstar on both short and long-term basis. These stocks have more or less consistently delivered above-average sales and profit growth and maintained juicy margins. Let us look at a few interesting facts about these tech titans- In August 2018, FAANG stocks were responsible for nearly 40 per cent of the S&P 500’s gain from the lows reached in February 2018. Over the past decade, FAANG stocks have grown faster than the overall S&P 500 or the more technology-focused NASDAQ. There is no exchange traded fund dedicated solely to FAANG stocks. Since the market bottom in March of 2009, the worst performing FAANG stock, Apple, has returned over double that of the index average. Amid the COVID-19 market downturn FAANG companies were one of the biggest beneficiaries as the “stay-at-home” economy led to an acceleration in their trajectories as people’s lives shifted online. Rather than resting on their achievements and dominant market position, FAANG companies choose to use their cash on hand to make investments in cloud computing, AI and other technologies that they believe may lead to continued revenue growth.

What are GAFAM Stocks? GAFAM Stocks are perhaps the most famous and sought-after stocks of the last decade. The dominance of these companies during the 2010s in the stock market will be remembered in the books and adages.  It is the creation of market participants that develop acronyms like GAFAM, which include five large American companies having dominance across most jurisdictions. GAFAM stands for Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft.  Over time these companies have gained dominance in their primary business. In addition, GAFAM stocks have been aggressive in expansion and entering new verticals.  Although there have been considerable acquisitions along the way, the investments in research & development and innovation have been at the forefront of the capital expenditure plans.  Google Officially known as Alphabet Inc., ‘Google is not a conventional company’ is a statement made by its founders in their early letters. It has not been a conventional company, indeed. Google has developed significant networking within its products.  As a dominant search engine of the world, Alphabet reaps large revenue through advertisements through its flagship search engine and other products. Over the years, the company has been able to expand in other verticals such as mobile phone operating system – Android, web browser through Google Chrome.  Alphabet has two operating segments. Under Google, the company houses Search engine, YouTube, Search, Google Play, Google Maps, Android, Chrome, hardware, Google Cloud.  In other bets, the company includes businesses that are not material individually. These businesses include Calico, Verily, Waymo, CapitalG, GV, X and more. Almost all revenue of Alphabet is derived by Google segment.  In 2019, Alphabet recorded revenue of $162 billion, and around $161 billion was derived from Google segment. Operating income of the company was $34.2 billion, while net income of the company was $34.3 billion.  Read: Unboxing Revenue Growth Streak of Google and Microsoft Apple  Established in 1977, Apple Inc. is a consumer electronic company engaged in manufacturing of various consumer products. Apple mobile phones are renowned across the world, and it also makes personal computers, wearables, tablets, and accessories.  iPhone is the flagship mobile operates on an in-house developed iOS operating system. Mac is a brand for its personal computers that are also used extensively across the professional domain. iPad is a line of tablets, which run on iPadOS.  Apple also sells other wearables and accessories that include Apple Watch, Apple TV, Beats products, iPod Touch, Airpods. The core strength of the company has been its capability to innovate and launch products continuously.  iCloud is its cloud service, and data of its products can be stored in the cloud. As a consumer business, it markets are focused small individual customers that do not constitute a material portion of revenue individually.  In 2019, Apple recorded revenue of $260.2 billion. Its operating income for the period was $64 billion, while net income was $55.25 billion.  Facebook  Facebook Inc. was established as a social networking website and has grown tremendously due to its strong networking effects. It enables people to connect with each other or in groups. Facebook is used in mobile phones, personal computers, handsets etc. It has been a great place to share opinion, ideas, videos and photos. With its large user base, Facebook and its products are used for advertisements. The traditional modes of advertisements have lost significant market share to companies like Facebook.  Instagram is also a part of Facebook. It is used by people across the world to share photos and videos. It also offers a similar type of services like Facebook and has emerged as a networking platform for digital creators and influencers.  WhatsApp is a messaging mobile phone application. It allows people to connect privately and is extensively used by people. Messenger is another application by Facebook that enables people to connect with family, friends, groups and businesses.  Oculus is the hardware business of Facebook that helps to connect people through its virtual reality products. A major portion of revenue is generated by marketing and advertisement through its products that are used by large scale potential consumers.  Watch: Facebook launching 'Shops' on its social Media Platform | Market Update Amazon Amazon.com, Inc. was established as e-commerce in 1994. The company serves consumers, sellers, developers, enterprises, and content creators. Amazon also provides advertising services to publishers, sellers, vendors, publishers, and authors.  It serves consumers through its online and physical stores. Amazon offers a range of categories and is has a strong online retail presence. It has been engaged in manufacturing consumer electronics such as Kindle, Fire TV, Fire Echo, Alexa, Ring etc.  Amazon Prime is a membership of the company that provides shopping benefits, streaming of entertainment content, including movies, original content. It intends to provide customers with low prices and home delivery of goods.  It also enables sellers to access Amazon marketplace, which includes stores and online website. Amazon earns through a percentage of sales, fixed fee, combinations etc. Amazon Web Services offers cloud service to a range of public and private enterprises to store data.  Kindle allows content creators to publish and sell content/books on Kindle and earn a royalty on sales. In 2019, the company recorded net sales of $280.5 billion. Operating income for the year was $14.54 billion, and net income was $11.59 billion.  Microsoft  Microsoft Corporation is a technology company that develops software, services, devices and solutions. Its products are extensively used by businesses and individual customers to operate personal computers.  Microsoft’s platforms allow improving small-businesses productivity, educational outcomes, driving competitiveness of large businesses. As a platform and tools provider, the company empowers enterprise and organisations of all sizes.  Now it is emphasising on innovation for the next phase of computing stage. Other than its legacy operating system, Microsoft provides cloud-based solutions, services, software, platforms, content, server applications, desktop management tools, software development tools etc.  It also designs and manufactures and sell devices, including gaming consoles, PCs, tablets, entertainment consoles, and related accessories. In 2020, the company recorded revenue of $143 billion. Operating income for the year was $53 billion, and net income was $44.3 billion. 

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. OK