It is also commonly used in mathematics in algebraic solutions representing quantities such as angles. This is useful for non-traditional or highly focused funds, where a single stock index might not be representative of the investment's holdings. Plutarch, in Moralia, presents a discussion on why the letter alpha stands first in the alphabet. Therefore, the alpha coefficient indicates how an investment has performed after accounting for the risk it involved: For instance, although a return of 20% may appear good, the investment can still have a negative alpha if it's involved in an excessively risky position. The uppercase letter alpha is A and the lowercase letter alpha is α. International Phonetic Alphabet. In the Greek numeral system, the letter was taken as the symbol of 1 (one). For accented Greek characters, see Greek diacritics: Computer encoding. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, the letter ɑ, which looks similar to the lower-case alpha, represents the open back unrounded vowel. In the polytonic orthography of Greek, alpha, like other vowel letters, can occur with several diacritic marks: any of three accent symbols (ά, ὰ, ᾶ), and either of two breathing marks (ἁ, ἀ), as well as combinations of these. Because of this symbolism, the characters ⍺ and ⍵ denote the left and right arguments in the APL programming language. Alpha is a measure of the active return on an investment, the performance of that investment compared with a suitable market index. He then added that he would rather be assisted by Lamprias, his own grandfather, than by Dionysus' grandfather, i.e. Alpha is a measure of the active return on an investment, the performance of that investment compared with a suitable market index. although the strategy of investing in every stock appeared to perform better than 75 percent of investment managers (see index fund), the price of the stock market as a whole fluctuates up and down, and could be on a downward decline for many years before returning to its previous price. As these funds include various fees normally expressed in percent terms, the fund has to maintain an alpha greater than its fees in order to provide positive gains compared with an index fund. A belief in efficient markets spawned the creation of market capitalization weighted index funds that seek to replicate the performance of investing in an entire market in the weights that each of the equity securities comprises in the overall market. Furthermore, in mathematics, the letter alpha is used to denote the area underneath a normal curve in statistics to denote significance level when proving null and alternative hypotheses.