Modern Portfolio Theory - MPT

Loading the player...

DEFINITION of 'Modern Portfolio Theory - MPT'

A theory on how risk-averse investors can construct portfolios to optimize or maximize expected return based on a given level of market risk, emphasizing that risk is an inherent part of higher reward.

Also called "portfolio theory" or "portfolio management theory."

BREAKING DOWN 'Modern Portfolio Theory - MPT'

According to the theory, it's possible to construct an "efficient frontier" of optimal portfolios offering the maximum possible expected return for a given level of risk. This theory was pioneered by Harry Markowitz in his paper "Portfolio Selection," published in 1952 by the Journal of Finance.

There are four basic steps involved in portfolio construction:
-Security valuation
-Asset allocation
-Portfolio optimization
-Performance measurement

RELATED TERMS
  1. Portfolio Variance

    The measurement of how the actual returns of a group of securities ...
  2. Permanent Portfolio

    A portfolio construction theory devised by free-market investment ...
  3. Efficient Frontier

    A set of optimal portfolios that offers the highest expected ...
  4. Harry Markowitz

    A Nobel Memorial Prize winning economist who devised the modern ...
  5. Covariance

    A measure of the degree to which returns on two risky assets ...
  6. Optimization

    In the context of technical analysis, it is the process of adjusting ...
Related Articles
  1. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The Top 5 Mid-Cap ETFs for 2016 (DON, VO)

    Check out five ETFs that could be well positioned heading into 2016, especially with a Federal Reserve that's expected to raise interest rates.
  2. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    BND: Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF

    Learn about the Vanguard Total Bond Market exchange-traded fund, its primary portfolio holdings and risk/reward profile based on its past performance.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    TLH: iShares 10-20 Year Treasury Bond ETF

    Learn about the iShares 1-20 Year Treasury Bond ETF and its holdings, and understand why investors may be better served to look at other bond funds.
  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    SCO: ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil ETF

    Find out about the ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil ETF, the characteristics of the inverse ETF and the suitability and recommendations of it.
  5. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    DIG: Ultra Oil & Gas ETF

    Find out more about the ProShares Ultra Oil & Gas exchange-traded fund, the characteristics of the ETF and the suitability and recommendations for the fund.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    IHI: iShares US Medical Devices ETF

    Learn about the iShares U.S. Medical Devices exchange-traded fund, its characteristics, suitability and recommendations for investors.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    IYM: iShares US Basic Materials ETF

    Learn about the iShares US Basic Materials exchange-traded fund, which invests in the equities of chemicals, metals and industrial gas companies.
  8. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    BNDX: Vanguard Total International Bond ETF

    Learn about the Vanguard Total International Bond exchange-traded fund, which invests in investment-grade foreign, sovereign and corporate bonds.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    FEP: First Trust Europe AlphaDEX ETF

    Learn about the First Trust ISE Europe AlphaDEX Fund, and explore detailed analysis of the ETF that tracks European stocks with high alphas.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    DBO: PowerShares DB Oil ETF

    Find out more about the PowerShares DB Oil exchange-traded fund, the characteristics of the ETF and the suitability and recommendations for it.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What types of assets lower portfolio variance?

    Assets that have a negative correlation with each other reduce portfolio variance. Variance is one measure of the volatility ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How is portfolio variance reduced in Modern Portfolio Theory?

    According to modern portfolio theory, or MPT, portfolio variance can be reduced by diversifying a portfolio through the inclusion ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why is risk return tradeoff important in designing a portfolio?

    The risk-return tradeoff determines how aggressive an investor wants to be with the assets included in the portfolio. An ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How reliable is the mean variance analysis of an investment?

    Mean variance analysis of an individual investment or asset can provide a historical measure of volatility for the investment. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can a mean variance analysis be done for any investment?

    A mean variance analysis is performed on a group of assets in a portfolio across a certain time horizon. This analysis can ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do investment advisors calculate how much diversification their portfolios need?

    One effective tool for investment advisers to determine the amount of diversification necessary for a portfolio is modern ... Read Full Answer >>
  7. What are some of the uses of the coefficient of variation (COV)?

    In statistics, the coefficient of variation (COV) is a simple measure of relative event dispersion. It is equal to the ratio ... Read Full Answer >>
  8. How do you interpret the magnitude of the covariance between two variables?

    Covariance indicates the relationship of two variables whenever one variable changes. If an increase in one variable results ... Read Full Answer >>
  9. How is covariance used in portfolio theory?

    Covariance is used in portfolio theory to determine what assets to include in the portfolio. Covariance is a statistical ... Read Full Answer >>
  10. Where did Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) come from?

    Modern portfolio theory, or MPT, came from Harry Markowitz and was first introduced in a paper titled "Portfolio Selection" ... Read Full Answer >>
  11. Is there a positive correlation between risk and return?

    There is a positive correlation between risk and return with one important caveat. There is no guarantee that taking greater ... Read Full Answer >>
  12. How does covariance impact portfolio risk and return?

    Covariance provides diversification and reduces the overall volatility for a portfolio. Covariance is a statistical measure ... Read Full Answer >>
  13. How is correlation used in modern portfolio theory?

    Modern portfolio theory (MPT) emphasizes that investors can diversify away the risk of investment loss by reducing the correlation ... Read Full Answer >>
  14. Is alpha the best risk measure?

    There are many different types of risk associated with investing, and it is almost impossible for any single technical indicator ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  2. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  3. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  4. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
  5. Quarterly Earnings Report

    A quarterly filing made by public companies to report their performance. Included in earnings reports are items such as net ...
Trading Center