How does StockLight calculate annualised time-weighted returns?

Return on Investment

Case study: How the time period of your stock holding affects your true return

If you purchased BHP shares at $15.51 and the stock is now trading at $23.34, the share price has increased 50.5%.

If you purchased those shares exactly one year ago, that means your annualised gain not factoring dividends is 50.5%, a wonderful result.

However, if you purchased those shares thirty years ago, your annualised gain would only be 1.7%, a much worse result.

When you configure your holdings in StockLight, if you enter holding lots with Price Paid and Date Purchased, StockLight will automatically show your capital return gain or loss, dividend return and return on investment (ROI) as both a total amount and on an annualised time-weighted basis.

The opportunity cost associated with your personalised holding period is a very important concept when investing and that is why you need to know how your investments are doing on an annualised basis.

Unlike your broker who is typically incentivised to make you trade more often and has no reason to show you an annualised return, StockLight acts in your best interest and won't hide this crucial benchmark from you.

Step 1: The way our Total calculations are performed is as follows:
Capital return (Gain or Loss) $ = Number of shares still held × Current share price + Total sales - Total price paid for these shares * this is your gain or loss on the share price plus your realised returns from sales
Dividend return $ = Dividend amounts issued during holding period × total number of shares held on the ex-date of each dividend (ignoring tax credits as they are dependant on individual circumstances)
ROI $ = Capital return $ + Dividend return $ - Brokerage
Step 2: StockLight then goes one step further and shows these as percentage totals:
Capital return % = Capital return $ ÷ Total paid
Dividends % = Dividend return $ ÷ Total paid
ROI % = ROI ÷ Total paid

StockLight then goes the extra mile and will break down your returns on an annualised basis. This is an extremely important concept because it will expose your true return respective of time.

Step 3: Annualised returns are then calculated in StockLight as follows:
Capital return annualised % = Cumulative sum of each share purchase lot's gain or loss divided by the number of years it was held (or divided by 1 if held for less than one year) in relation to the total price paid
Dividends annualised % = Cumulative sum of each dividend paid divided by the associated holdings number of years held (or divided by 1 if held for less than one year) in relation to the total price paid
ROI annualised % = (Capital return annualised + Total dividends annualised - brokerage) divided by the Total price paid

- These annualised calculations all use arithmetic averages and not geometric averages ie. they are not compounded
- If a share has been held for less than one year, the annualised calculation is the same as the calculations from Step 2
- Where shares have been sold, the capital return calculation is based on the earliest purchased shares that can cover the transaction
- The dividend returns do not factor tax or franking credits
- Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance
- StockLight's factual return calcluations are not and should not be interpreted as general or personal advice

What is StockLight?

StockLight helps investors comb the market to find investment opportunities using a series of fundamental value investing ratios. StockLight is not a 'stock picking' tool, it flags companies that look attractive and provides links to deeper analysis to help you evaluate whether or not these stocks are worth buying (or selling).

How do I synchronise my paid StockLight Premium subscription across iOS devices?

On each device for which you have installed StockLight, follow these instructions:

  1. Open the StockLight app
  2. Tap the 'Settings' tab
  3. Tap 'Subscriptions'
  4. Tap 'Restore Previous Purchases'
* Note: If you have a paid StockLight premium account on an iPhone or iPad, you can use that premium subscription for free on multiple devices using these instructions so long as each device is logged into the same iTunes account.

How do I synchronise my portfolio and watchlist across devices?

On each device for which you have installed StockLight, follow these instructions:

  1. Open the StockLight app
  2. Tap the 'Settings' tab
  3. Tap 'Anonymous Account'
  4. Enter your email address
  5. When a confirmation email arrives, open it on your device's email client
  6. Tap the green confirmation link in the email
* If you are unable to open the confirmation email on you device, you can instead use the 'confirmation code' from the email on the apps sign-in screen.
** In order for StockLight to synchronise your devices, you must use the same email address in step 3 for each of your devices

After you have followed these instructions, when you first open StockLight on a device, it will check for updates from the server and 'synchronise' your portfolio across from other devices


How do I handle dividend reinvestments schemes in my portfolio?

For the time being, you can record reinvested dividends in your StockLight portfolio as separate transactions. Because our ROI calculation factors all dividends as part of your cash return, you can enter each reinvested dividend parcel of shares as a separate transaction.

Say for instance, that you received 2 shares of Woodside Petroleum on September 20th as part of your dividend reinvestment scheme, you would enter those 2 shares as a new 'buy' transaction for that date in your StockLight portfolio with $0 brokerage.

I forgot my password?

StockLight doesn't actually use any passwords for itself. All of our member functionality is linked to your email address so that when you provide your email to StockLight, we can send you a verification link. Refer to the above heading for syncing your portfolio.

That said, if you have a paid StockLight subscription, the account that logs in to apply the paid subscription is provided by either Apple's iTunes app or by Google's Play app.
* Note: If you have a paid StockLight premium account, you should be able to determine the email address associated with your iTunes or Google Play by finding an emailed receipt for your StockLight subscription in one of your email inboxes and then using the following instructions for that email address.

If you have forgotten the password for iTunes, try:
iTunes Password reset instructions

If you have forgotten the password for Google Play, try:
Google reset instructions

How do I cancel my subscription?

If you are looking to pause or cancel your subscription, we are really sorry to hear that our app didn't live up to your expectations. We'd love to learn more about what made you use it in the first place and also why it wasn't quite what you were looking for as that feedback will help a lot with guiding our future product development. You can email us your feedback at:

Apple iTunes and Google Play won't allow us to cancel a subscription on your behalf however you can easily do so yourself following these instructions:
Cancelling an Apple iTunes recurring subscription
Cancelling a Google Play recurring subscription

Does StockLight provide access to company dividend information?

Yes, you can access this information by tapping a company in your watchlist, you can then swipe scroll down to find the company's dividend history. You can then tap on that dividend panel for more detail. You can also access this information for all companies paying dividends in the weeks and months ahead using the dividends feature located in the market filter screen. This feature allows you to sort by payment date, ex-dividend date, dividend yield and company name.

How does the StockLight indicator work?

The StockLight tachometer provides an instant summary of a company's financial health and prospects as a potential investment

Tapping the StockLight tachometer will drill down to the ratios for a company. These are given a green tick if they look attractive, a red tick if they look unattractive and a yellow marker if there is not enough data available to calculate the indicator.

How do I use the Market Filter?

The Market Filter give investors a picture of the 22 industries that make up the ASX market (based on global GICS codes) from best to worst. For example someone interested in the banking sector can see which companies pass the most green flags at the top of the list down to those that attracted the most red flags. The ratio thresholds are customised and unique for each market sector.

Does StockLight provide detailed company data?

By tapping a company in your watchlist or in the Market Filter, you can drill down to find our latest research on that company, price charts, dividend history and a company overview.

Where can I get support?

If you need help using the application, please email our friendly team at

How much does it cost?

StockLight's basic features are free and it is available to download exclusively through the App Store and Google Play in the Finance category. Users can also unlock additional content or remove advertisements by taking up a StockLight subscription which as of Feb, 2018 is priced at $13.99 AUD per month.

What are the current device requirements?

iOS users: Android users: All users: