Total Portfolio Return
Total return represents the actual rate of return of an investment or a pool of investments over a given evaluation period. It includes interest, capital gains, dividends and distributions realized over a given period of time.
Total return accounts for two categories of return: income and capital appreciation. Income includes interest paid by fixedincome investments, distributions or dividends. Capital appreciation represents the change in the market price of an asset.
Related Readings:
Mutual Fund Theorem
Mutual Fund Theorem (MFT) is an investing theory, postulated by Nobel laureate James Tobin, that states that all investors should hold an identically comprised portfolio of "risky assets" combined with some percentage of riskfree assets or cash. A conservative investor would hold a higher percentage of cash, but would have the same basket of risky investments in his or her portfolio as an aggressive investor.
MFT came about as a result of the framework laid out by Harry Markowitz and his theories on how diversification limits portfolio risk. The viability of the mutual fund theorem has been questioned, because several important assumptions must be in place for the theorem to be proved. These include a lack of transaction costs and perfectly transparent markets.
Related Readings:
 The Advantages Of Mutual Funds
 How Risk Free Is The RiskFree Rate Of Return?
 The Capital Asset Pricing Model: An Overview
Alpha
Alpha is one of the easiest terms to explain. Simply stated, alpha is often described to the value that a portfolio manager adds to or subtracts from an investment's return. Alpha is measured in direct relationship to the investment's benchmark.
A positive alpha of 1.0 means the fund has outperformed its benchmark index by 1%. Correspondingly, a similar negative alpha would indicate an underperformance of 1%. For both portfolio managers and investors, more alpha is always better.
Related Readings:
Beta

ETFs & Mutual Funds
Alpha and Beta for Beginners
An indepth look at what alpha and beta are and what they measure. 
Investing
A Deeper Look At Alpha
The Jensen index helps investors compare realized returns to what should've been achieved. 
Trading
Bettering Your Portfolio With Alpha And Beta
Increase your returns by creating the right balance of both these risk measures. 
Managing Wealth
Evaluating Alpha and Beta
Alpha and beta are risk ratios that investors use to calculate, compare and predict returns. 
ETFs & Mutual Funds
Pursuing Alpha In A WellDiversified IRA
This strategy is not as complex as some investment gurus would like you to believe. 
ETFs & Mutual Funds
5 Ways To Measure Mutual Fund Risk
These statistical measurements highlight how to mitigate risk and increase rewards. 
Trading
Measuring And Managing Investment Risk
Risk is inseparable from return. Learn more about these measures and how to balance them. 
Trading
Adding Alpha Without Adding Risk
Learn how to generate higher returns in your portfolio while keeping the same risk profile. 
Managing Wealth
More Ways to Evaluate Portfolio Performance
The Jensen measure is another tool investors use to include risk when measuring portfolio performance. 
Managing Wealth
Measure Your Portfolio's Performance
Learn three ratios that will help you evaluate your investment returns.