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What is the real return? - Sources Differ
Old 08-10-2022, 02:06 PM   #1
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What is the real return? - Sources Differ

I was looking at a few stock and bond funds, and noticed the posted returns didn't match from one source to another. Initially I was looking at the "1 year" returns, but wasn't sure if that was all of a previous year, or July of last year till July of this year. So I decided to compare YTD returns instead. Here are a few examples of what I found:


Vanguard shows -12.71% on the fund page, but 12.60% in the summary section.

Google shows -19.98% under YTD, but -13.93% when YTD is selected for the graph.

Portfolio Visualizer shows -12.60%


Vanguard shows -.59% on the fund page, but .36% in the summary.

Google shows -1.43% under YTD, but -2.91% in the YTD graph.

Portfolio Visualizer shows .36%


Vanguard shows -18.62% on the fund page,but -18.91% in the summary

Google shows -20.99% under YTD, but -17.87% in the YTD graph

Portfolio Visualizer shows -18.91%

Google seems to be way off on the return values. Portfolio Visualizer at least agrees with the summary value on the Vanguard fund page, which makes me believe it a bit more. On the other hand, other sites like Morningstar agree with the return value on Vanguard's fund page.

They all seem so inconsistent that it's hard to know who to believe.
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Old 08-10-2022, 07:19 PM   #2
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Quite often, the discrepancy is caused by not including dividends.

And when asked for YTD, some count from the closing price of the 1st trading day of the year. I prefer to use the price on 12/31 of the last year. The gain/loss of the 1st trading day of the year belongs to the current year, agree?

For example, consider VUSUX:

Vanguard shows -18.62% on the fund page,but -18.91% in the summary

Google shows -20.99% under YTD, but -17.87% in the YTD graph

Portfolio Visualizer shows -18.91%...
On 12/31, Yahoo Finance shows the price as 12.78. Today's 8/10 close price is 10.19.

That's -20.26% YTD. How about dividends?

There have been 7 dividend payouts worth 0.128. Now, here's a complication. If the dividend is reinvested, you will have less than 0.128 at this point because the fund has been dropping mostly. You buy low, and it goes lower. To be accurate, the price at each of the 7 dividend reinvests has to be accounted for.

Too much work, so let's see what happens if we take it in cash. Our total value is then 10.19+0.128 = 10.318. Then, the YTD return is -19.26%.

Hmmm... Does not come close to any of the above numbers.
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