Given a set of unrealized, realized and total P&L on my portfolio, how do I calculate the daily return on the portfolio?

  • Do you have the cost basis? You'd need that in addition to the P&L to calculate return.
    – D Stanley
    Apr 12, 2017 at 13:34

2 Answers 2


You'll need either the cost basis or the total value of the portfolio to calculate return. Return is

change in value
  start value

You can calculate the change in value (same as change in daily P&L), but you need the cost basis in order to know the "start value". If you do have the cost basis, the formula would be:

 P&L day 2  - P&L day 1
 cost basis + P&L day 1
  • The --- signifies divided by right?
    – WJA
    Apr 13, 2017 at 9:40

There are many methods, provided you have records of your investments; one straight foward but heavy lifting calculation would entail taking an epoch start date, say 1st April 2000, calculate your portfolio value on that day, it could be a tedious process, you would have to do the following:

1. No of stocks (different co.) bonds, mutual fund units, commodity held on that day (if real estate is in the mix keep it separate)
2. Get the prices of these and get the aggregate portfolio value
3. Do the same for your current portfolio and get its value.
4. Calculate CAGR for yearly (appx.) yearly return and average for daily return

The process above is heavy lifting but will provide you with more or less an idea of your CAGR.

The information needed above can be found from open sources and your portfolio information from your bank/investment broker.

This method consideres the start and end value of a portfolio, other methods consider split, dividend, bonus etc. and is more complicated.

  • Can you point me to some terms or resources that discuss how to get the portfolio value, and the link with P&L?
    – WJA
    Apr 12, 2017 at 12:17
  • this link finance.zacks.com/figure-gain-loss-stock-portfolio-4692.html will give some pointers in the lines I mentioned above
    – Ironluca
    Apr 12, 2017 at 12:22
  • Thanks, but this resource is insufficient as it only covers the basic. I have already calculated the P&L (unrealized, using FIFO and LIFO), but now I am trying to figure how to transform those values into percentages/returns.
    – WJA
    Apr 12, 2017 at 12:33

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