DEFINITION of 'Mean Return'
1. In securities analysis, it is the expected value, or mean, of all the likely returns of investments comprising a portfolio. It is also known as "expected return".
2. In capital budgeting, it is the mean value of the probability distribution of possible returns.
INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Mean Return'
Mean returns attempt to quantify the relationship between the risk of a portfolio of securities and its return. It assumes that while investors have different risk tolerances, rational investors will always seek the maximum rate of return for every level of acceptable risk. It is the mean, or expected, return that investors try to maximize at each level of risk.
RELATED TERMS

Unsystematic Risk
Company or industry specific risk that is inherent in each investment. ... 
Systematic Risk
The risk inherent to the entire market or entire market segment. ... 
Expected Value
Anticipated value for a given investment. In statistics and probability ... 
Actual Return
The actual gain or loss of an investor. This can be expressed ... 
Abnormal Return
A term used to describe the returns generated by a given security ... 
Capital Budgeting
The process in which a business determines whether projects such ...
RELATED FAQS

What is a "linear" exposure in Value at Risk (VaR) calculation?
A linear exposure in the valueatrisk, or VaR, calculation is represented by positions in stocks, bonds, commodities or ... Read Full Answer >> 
How does quantifying fixed overhead volume variance show whether a company is profitable ...
Fixed overhead volume cannot definitively prove a company is profitable, but it can be used to provide an excellent indication ... Read Full Answer >> 
How does the risk of investing in the aerospace sector compare to the broader market?
Investing in the aerospace sector is riskier than investing in the broader market. The most accurate measure of sector volatility, ... Read Full Answer >> 
What is price variance in cost accounting?
Price variance in cost accounting is the difference between the actual price paid by a company to purchase an item and its ... Read Full Answer >> 
Do any markets not exhibit asymmetric information?
Asymmetric information, when interpreted literally, means that two parties to an economic transaction have different information ... Read Full Answer >> 
Can small investors buy collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs)?
Collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs), which are pools of mortgagebacked securities (MBS), are available to smaller ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles

Options & Futures
Calculating The Equity Risk Premium
See the model in action with real data and evaluate whether its assumptions are valid. 
Fundamental Analysis
The EquityRisk Premium: More Risk For Higher Returns
Learn how the expected extra return on stocks is measured and why academic studies usually estimate a low premium. 
Investing
How To Evaluate Pension Risk By Analyzing Annual Costs
Learn how to assess whether a company's pension plan is posing more risks than what the footnotes indicate. 
Economics
Explaining the Cash Budget
A cash budget is a plan for the inflows and outflows of cash for a business or an individual. 
Investing
The Case For Stocks Today
Last week, U.S. equities advanced with the S&P 500 Index notching new records. Investors are now getting nervous with rate and currency volatility spiking. 
Investing
Financial Gifts For Grads: Kindergarten To College
If you really want to help your grad preparing for the future, consider a present that supports their longterm goals—an early start to financial planning. 
Mutual Funds & ETFs
Why You May Want To Be (And Stay) In Bonds
Bonds are complicated, and it’s easy to feel intimidated or confused. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a numbers geek to be an informed investor. 
Trading Strategies
How To Cover Your Bases After Making A Trade
Follow up your trade entry with these timetested risk management strategies. 
Active Trading Fundamentals
Four Steps To Manage A Downturn In The Market
A few simple adjustments could end your losing streak as soon as it begins. 
Professionals
Tips for Assessing a Client's Risk Tolerance
Determining a client’s risk tolerance is a critical piece of the puzzle in designing and appropriate asset allocation.