Financial Terms Mean-variance analysis

# Definition of Mean-variance analysis

## Mean-variance analysis

Evaluation of risky prospects based on the expected value and variance of possible outcomes.

# Related Terms:

## activity analysis

the process of detailing the various repetitive actions that are performed in making a product or
providing a service, classifying them as value-added and
non-value-added, and devising ways of minimizing or eliminating

## Arithmetic average (mean) rate of return

Arithmetic mean return.

## Arithmetic mean return

An average of the subperiod returns, calculated by summing the subperiod returns
and dividing by he number of subperiods.

## BARRA's performance analysis (PERFAN)

A method developed by BARRA, a consulting firm in
Berkeley, Calif. It is commonly used by institutional investors applying performance attribution analysis to
evaluate their money managers' performances.

## Break-even analysis

An analysis of the level of sales at which a project would make zero profit.

## break-even analysis

analysis of the level of sales at which the company breaks even.

## Break-Even Analysis

An analytical technique for studying the relationships between fixed cost, variable cost, and profits. A breakeven chart graphically depicts the nature of breakeven analysis. The breakeven point represents the volume of sales at which total costs equal total revenues (that is, profits equal zero).

## budget variance

the difference between total actual overhead
and budgeted overhead based on standard hours allowed
for the production achieved during the period; computed
as part of two-variance overhead analysis; also
referred to as the controllable variance

## capital investment analysis

Refers to various techniques and procedures
used to determine or to analyze future returns from an investment
of capital in order to evaluate the capital recovery pattern and the
periodic earnings from the investment. The two basic tools for capital
investment analysis are (1) spreadsheet models (which I strongly prefer)
and (2) mathematical equations for calculating the present value or
internal rate of return of an investment. Mathematical methods suffer
from a lack of information that the decision maker ought to consider. A
spreadsheet model supplies all the needed information and has other

## Cluster analysis

A statistical technique that identifies clusters of stocks whose returns are highly correlated
within each cluster and relatively uncorrelated between clusters. Cluster analysis has identified groupings
such as growth, cyclical, stable and energy stocks.

## Common-base-year analysis

The representing of accounting information over multiple years as percentages
of amounts in an initial year.
Common-size analysis The representing of balance sheet items as percentages of assets and of income
statement items as percentages of sales.

## Comparative credit analysis

A method of analysis in which a firm is compared to others that have a desired
target debt rating in order to infer an appropriate financial ratio target.

## controllable variance

the budget variance of the two variance approach to analyzing overhead variances

## correlation analysis

an analytical technique that uses statistical
measures of dispersion to reveal the strength of the
relationship between variables

## Cost-Benefit Analysis

The calculation and comparison of the costs and benefits of a policy or project.

## cost-benefit analysis the analytical process of comparing the

relative costs and benefits that result from a specific course
of action (such as providing information or investing in a
project)

## cost driver analysis

the process of investigating, quantifying,
and explaining the relationships of cost drivers and
their related costs

## Cost–volume–profit analysis (CVP)

A method for understanding the relationship between revenue, cost and sales volume.

## Covariance

A statistical measure of the degree to which random variables move together.

## Covariance

A measure of the degree to which returns on two assets move in
tandem. A positive covariance means that asset returns move together; a
negative covariance means they vary inversely.

## Credit analysis

The process of analyzing information on companies and bond issues in order to estimate the
ability of the issuer to live up to its future contractual obligations. Related: default risk

## credit analysis

Procedure to determine the likelihood a customer will pay its bills.

## Direct materials mix variance

The variance between the budgeted and actual mixes of
direct materials costs, both using the actual total quantity used. This variance isolates
the unit cost of each item, excluding all other variables.

## Discriminant analysis

A statistical process that links the probability of default to a specified set of financial ratios.

## Factor analysis

A statistical procedure that seeks to explain a certain phenomenon, such as the return on a
common stock, in terms of the behavior of a set of predictive factors.

## Failure analysis

The examination of failure incidents to identify components
with poor performance profiles.

## Financial Trend Analysis

Process of analyzing financial statements of a company for any continuing relationship.

the difference between the total actual fixed overhead and budgeted fixed overhead;
it is computed as part of the four-variance overhead analysis

see volume variance

## Fundamental analysis

Security analysis that seeks to detect misvalued securities by an analysis of the firm's
business prospects. Research analysis often focuses on earnings, dividend prospects, expectations for future
interest rates, and risk evaluation of the firm.

## Geometric mean return

Also called the time weighted rate of return, a measure of the compounded rate of
growth of the initial portfolio market value during the evaluation period, assuming that all cash distributions
are reinvested in the portfolio. It is computed by taking the geometric average of the portfolio subperiod
returns.

## Horizon analysis

An analysis of returns using total return to assess performance over some investment horizon.

## Horizontal analysis

The process of dividing each expense item of a given year by the same expense item in
the base year. This allows for the exploration of changes in the relative importance of expense items over time
and the behavior of expense items as sales change.

## incremental analysis

a process of evaluating changes that
focuses only on the factors that differ from one course of
action or decision to another

## labor efficiency variance

the number of hours actually worked minus the standard hours allowed for the production
achieved multiplied by the standard rate to establish
a value for efficiency (favorable) or inefficiency (unfavorable)
of the work force

## Labor efficiency variance

The difference between the amount of time that was budgeted
to be used by the direct labor staff and the amount actually used, multiplied
by the standard labor rate per hour.

## labor mix variance

(actual mix X actual hours X standard rate) - (standard mix X actual hours X standard rate);
it presents the financial effect associated with changing the
proportionate amount of higher or lower paid workers in production

## labor rate variance

the actual rate (or actual weighted average rate) paid to labor for the period minus the standard rate multiplied by all hours actually worked during the period;
it is actual labor cost minus (actual hours X standard rate)

## Labor rate variance

The difference between the actual and standard direct labor rates
actually paid to the direct labor staff, multiplied by the number of actual hours
worked.

## labor yield variance

(standard mix X actual hours X standard rate) - (standard mix X standard hours X standard rate);
it shows the monetary impact of using more or fewer total hours than the standard allowed

## least squares regression analysis

a statistical technique that investigates the association between dependent and independent variables; it determines the line of "best fit" for a set of observations by minimizing the sum of the squares
of the vertical deviations between actual points and the
regression line; it can be used to determine the fixed and
variable portions of a mixed cost

## material mix variance

(actual mix X actual quantity X standard price) - (standard mix X actual quantity X standardprice);
it computes the monetary effect of substituting a nonstandard mix of material

## material price variance

total actual cost of material purchased
minus (actual quantity of material  standard
price); it is the amount of money spent below (favorable)
or in excess (unfavorable) of the standard price for the
quantity of materials purchased; it can be calculated based
on the actual quantity of material purchased or the actual
quantity used

## material quantity variance

(actual quantity X standard price) - (standard quantity allowed  standard price);
the standard cost saved (favorable) or expended (unfavorable)
due to the difference between the actual quantity
of material used and the standard quantity of material
allowed for the goods produced during the period

## material yield variance

(standard mix X actual quantity X standard price) - (standard mix X standard quantity X standard price);
it computes the difference between the
actual total quantity of input and the standard total quantity
allowed based on output and uses standard mix and
standard prices to determine variance

## Materials price variance

The difference between the actual and budgeted cost to
acquire materials, multiplied by the total number of units purchased.

## Materials quantity variance

The difference between the actual and budgeted quantities
of material used in the production process, multiplied by the standard cost per
unit.

## Mean

The expected value of a random variable.

## Mean

a. A number that typifies a set of numbers, such as a geometric mean
or an arithmetic mean.
b. The average value of a set of numbers.

## Mean of the sample

The arithmetic average; that is, the sum of the observations divided by the number of
observations.

## Mean-variance criterion

The selection of portfolios based on the means and variances of their returns. The
choice of the higher expected return portfolio for a given level of variance or the lower variance portfolio for
a given expected return.

## Mean-variance efficient portfolio

Related: Markowitz efficient portfolio

## Minimum-variance frontier

Graph of the lowest possible portfolio variance that is attainable for a given
portfolio expected return.

## Minimum-variance portfolio

The portfolio of risky assets with lowest variance.
Minority interest An outside ownership interest in a subsidiary that is consolidated with the parent for
financial reporting purposes.

## Multiple-discriminant analysis (MDA)

Statistical technique for distinguishing between two groups on the
basis of their observed characteristics.

## noncontrollable variance

it is computed as part of the two-variance approach to overhead analysis

the difference between total budgeted overhead at actual hours and total budgeted
overhead at standard hours allowed for the production
achieved; it is computed as part of a three-variance analysis;
it is the same as variable overhead efficiency variance

the difference between total actual overhead and total budgeted overhead at actual
hours; it is computed as part of three-variance analysis; it
is equal to the sum of the variable and fixed overhead
spending variances

## Pareto analysis

a method of ranking the causes of variation
in a process according to the impact on an objective
Pareto inventory analysis an analysis that separates inventory
into three groups based on annual cost-to-volume usage

## Pareto analysis

The 80:20 ratio that states that 20% of the variables included in an
analysis are responsible for 80% of the results. For example, 20% of all customers
are responsible for 80% of all customer service activity, or 20% of all inventory
items comprise 80% of the inventory value.

The decomposition of a money manager's performance results to explain
the reasons why those results were achieved. This analysis seeks to answer the following questions: (1) What
were the major sources of added value? (2) Was short-term factor timing statistically significant? (3) Was
market timing statistically significant? And (4), Was security selection statistically significant?

## Portfolio variance

Weighted sum of the covariance and variances of the assets in a portfolio.

## Pro forma capital structure analysis

A method of analyzing the impact of alternative capital structure
choices on a firm's credit statistics and reported financial results, especially to determine whether the firm will
be able to use projected tax shield benefits fully.

## Production yield variance

The difference between the actual and budgeted proportions
of product resulting from a production process, multiplied by the standard unit cost.

## Ratio analysis

A method of analysing financial reports to interpret trends and make comparisons by using ratios – two numbers, with one generally expressed as a percentage of the other.

## Ratio analysis

A method of relating numbers from the various financial statements to one another in order to get meaningful information for comparison.

## Ratio Analysis

The process of using financial ratios, calculated from key accounts
found in a company's financial statements, to make judgements
concerning the finances and operations of the firm

## Regression analysis

A statistical technique that can be used to estimate relationships between variables.

## Regression analysis

Statistical analysis techniques that quantify the
relationship between two or more variables. The intent is quantitative
prediction or forecasting, particularly using a small population to forecast the
behavior of a large population.

## Regression toward the mean

The tendency for subsequent observations of a random variable to be closer to its mean.

## Scenario analysis

The use of horizon analysis to project bond total returns under different reinvestment rates
and future market yields.

## scenario analysis

Project analysis given a particular combination of assumptions.

## Selling price variance

The difference between the actual and budgeted selling price for
a product, multiplied by the actual number of units sold.

## Sensitivity analysis

analysis of the effect on a project's profitability due to changes in sales, cost, and so on.

## Sensitivity analysis

An approach to understanding how changes in one variable of cost–volume–profit analysis are affected by changes in the other variables.

## sensitivity analysis

a process of determining the amount of change that must occur in a variable before a different decision would be made

## sensitivity analysis

analysis of the effects of changes in sales, costs, and so on, on project profitability.

## Serial covariance

The covariance between a variable and the lagged value of the variable; the same as
autocovariance.

## simulation analysis

Estimation of the probabilities of different possible outcomes, e.g., from an investment project.

## Technical analysis

Security analysis that seeks to detect and interpret patterns in past security prices.

the difference between total actual overhead and total applied overhead; it is the amount of underapplied or overapplied overhead

## total variance

the difference between total actual cost incurred
and total standard cost for the output produced during
the period

the difference between budgeted variable overhead based on actual input activity and variable overhead applied to production

the difference between total actual variable overhead and the budgeted amount of variable overhead based on actual input activity

## Variance

A measure of dispersion of a set of data points around their mean value. The mathematical
expectation of the squared deviations from the mean. The square root of the variance is the standard deviation.

## Variance

The weighted average of the squared deviations from the
expected value

## variance

a difference between an actual and a standard or
budgeted cost; it is favorable if actual is less than standard
and is unfavorable if actual is greater than standard

## Variance

The dispersion of a variable. The square of the standard deviation.

## variance

Average value of squared deviations from mean. A measure of volatility.

## Variance analysis

A method of budgetary control that compares actual performance against plan, investigates the causes of the variance and takes corrective action to ensure that targets are achieved.

## variance analysis

the process of categorizing the nature (favorable or unfavorable) of the differences between standard and actual costs and determining the reasons for those differences

## Variance minimization approach to tracking

An approach to bond indexing that uses historical data to
estimate the variance of the tracking error.

## Variance rule

Specifies the permitted minimum or maximum quantity of securities that can be delivered to
satisfy a TBA trade. For Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, and Feddie Mac pass-through securities, the accepted
variance is plus or minus 2.499999 percent per million of the par value of the TBA quantity.

## Vertical analysis

The process of dividing each expense item in the income statement of a given year by net
sales to identify expense items that rise faster or slower than a change in sales.

## VERTICAL ANALYSIS

A financial analysis technique that relates key amounts on the income statement and balance sheet to a 100 percent or base figure for the present and previous year.
It shows the percentage change from last year to this year, making it easier to spot problems that require analysis.

## volume variance

a fixed overhead variance that represents
the difference between budgeted fixed overhead and fixed
overhead applied to production of the period; is also referred
to as the noncontrollable variance