What is a 'Return'
A return is the gain or loss of a security in a particular period. The return consists of the income and the capital gains relative on an investment, and it is usually quoted as a percentage. The general rule is that the more risk you take, the greater the potential for higher returns and losses.
Return is also used as an abbreviation for income tax return â€” see 1040 Form.
BREAKING DOWN 'Return'
While some investors will settle for principal protection, most investors are in search of return, specifically alpha returns. Alpha returns are generated when an investment generates more money than it costs. In general, there are three different types of return measures: return on investment, return on equity and return on assets. Each one is essentially calculated the same way, but the inputs have different labels.
Return on Investment
The most common return measure, also referred to as the return on investment, or ROI, is calculated by dividing the cost of the investment by the difference between the cost of the investment and the gain on the investment. It is the most generic way to calculate return and is the basic formula used to calculate other return measures. For example, if an investor pays $100,000 for real estate and then sells it for $110,000, the return is calculated by taking the difference between $100,000 and $110,000, and then dividing that number by the cost of the investment, or $100,000. The calculation is $10,000 divided by $100,000, or 10%.
Return on Equity
Return on equity, or ROE, is another commonly used measure of return used by those analyzing business performance. In this case, a companyâ€™s net income is the gain or loss, and the cost is the average of the companyâ€™s equity. ROE is used by investors looking for a return on the company's equity capital. If a company makes $10,000 in net income for the year, and the average equity capital of the company over the same time period is $100,000, the return on equity is 10%.
Return on Assets
Yet another commonly used measure of return is the return on assets, or ROA. It is commonly used as a measure of return by those analyzing financial stocks. In this case, net income is also the gain, but the investment is the assets of the company. Net income divided by average total assets equals ROA. For example, if net income for the year is $10,000, and total average assets for the company over the same time period is equal to $100,000, the return on assets is $10,000 divided by $100,000, or 10%.

Average Return
The simple mathematical average of a series of returns generated ... 
Return On Capital Gains
The return that one gets from an increase in the value of a capital ... 
Total Return
When measuring performance, the actual rate of return of an investment ... 
Target Return
A pricing model that prices a business based on what an investor ... 
Return On Equity  ROE
The amount of net income returned as a percentage of shareholders ... 
Negative Return
This occurs when a company or business has a financial loss or ...

Investing
Explaining Expected Return
The expected return is a tool used to determine whether or not an investment has a positive or negative average net outcome. 
Investing
What Are The Main Differences Between Return On Equity (ROE) and Return On Assets?
Return on equity and return on assets are important measures for evaluating how well a company manages the capital its shareholders entrust to it. 
Investing
Calculating Return on Net Assets
Return on net assets measures a companyâ€™s financial performance. 
Markets
What's a Return of Capital?
A return of capital is an investment return that is not considered income. 
Retirement
Projected Returns: Honing The Craft
Find out how to forecast longterm returns on the three major asset classes. 
Investing
How To Calculate Your Investment Return
How much are your investments actually returning? Find out why the method of calculation matters. 
Investing
Calculating Annualized Total Return
The annualized total return is the average return of an investment each year over a given time period. 
ETFs & Mutual Funds
What are Excess Returns?
Excess returns are investment returns that exceed a benchmark or index with similar risk. 
Investing
What is a Return?
A return is the gain or loss a security generates over a period of time. 
Managing Wealth
More Ways to Evaluate Portfolio Performance
The Jensen measure is another tool investors use to include risk when measuring portfolio performance.

What is the difference between a company's annual return and its annualized return?
Understand the importance of calculating a company's annual return and its annualized return, and learn the differences between ... Read Answer >> 
Should I expect growth or income from buying stock in the consumer packaged goods ...
Find out how annual returns are expressed in financial statements. How do fundamental investors measure annual returns? What ... Read Answer >> 
What's the difference between absolute and relative return?
Knowing whether a fund manager or broker is doing a good job can be a challenge for some investors. It's difficult to define ... Read Answer >> 
What is the difference between return on equity and return on capital?
Return on equity (ROE) and return on capital (ROC) measure very similar concepts, but with a slight difference in the underlying ... Read Answer >> 
How do I calculate my portfolio's investment returns and performance?
Learn the basic principles underlying the data and calculations used to perform personal rates of return on investment portfolios. Read Answer >> 
How is the expected market return determined when calculating market risk premium?
Find out how the expected market return rate is determined when calculating market risk premium and how these figures are ... Read Answer >>