Brian Rogers' Second-Quarter Commentary - T. Rowe Price Equity Income Fund
The Equity Income Fund returned −2.73% in the quarter compared with −2.75% for the S&P 500 Index and −2.12% for the Lipper Equity Income Funds Index. For the 12 months ended June 30, 2012, the fund returned 2.64% versus 5.45% for the S&P 500 Index and 3.21% for the Lipper Equity Income Funds Index. The fund's average annual total returns were 2.64%, −0.94%, and 5.28% for the 1-, 5-, and 10-year periods, respectively, as of June 30, 2012. The fund's expense ratio was 0.68% as of its fiscal year ended December 31, 2011.
Financials, industrials and business services, energy, and consumer discretionary remained the largest sector allocations in the portfolio, although these weightings are the result of our value-driven individual stock selection process rather than a top-down sector strategy. Stock selection within financials and consumer staples produced positive results for performance during the second quarter, while information technology and consumer discretionary holdings restrained the portfolio's relative returns. The portfolio's health care and energy holdings were also beneficial while stock selection in telecommunication services was another area of weakness.
The market environment has changed dramatically in recent months. Although the U.S. economy continues to demonstrate slow, steady growth, developments in Europe have led to growing caution among investors. A softer Chinese economy and fiscal uncertainty in the U.S. have further dampened risk appetites. Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. economy appeared to be stabilizing. Recent events, however, have encouraged the Federal Reserve to stick to its highly accommodative monetary policy. Despite risks to the global economy, U.S. corporate fundamentals are generally strong. Stock valuations are appealing, once again, following May's sharp sell-off and June's volatility. We believe that our bottom-up approach to selecting stocks, rather than attempting to gauge the impact of macroeconomic events on financial markets, will continue to serve investors well in the coming months.