What it is:
A negative return is a loss on an investment.
How it works (Example):
For example, if an investor buys $1,000 of Company XYZ stock and then sells it for $500, the investor has a negative return of 50%.
Similarly, an investor will realize a negative return if the money borrowed to make an investment has a higher interest rate than the rate of return on the investment itself. For example, if you use a mortgage with a 5% interest rate to buy a house that only increases in value by 2% a year, you will have a negative return on your investment.