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T. Rowe Price Growth Stock Fund
, the only equity fund with more than $10 billion in assets that generated a return last quarter, dumped health-care stocks and expanded its position in consumer-goods companies.
, managed by Robert Bartolo at
T. Rowe Price Group
, gained 0.21% during the first quarter, when the
S&P 500 Index
dropped 10%. The fund has lost 6.9%, on average, in the past three years, narrowly outperforming the benchmark, which fell 8.5% a year.
Bartolo took advantage of rapidly shifting markets to reduce the
health care weighting by 4.7%, according to data compiled by
. He added 5% of the fund's assets to stocks that sell goods to consumers, including new positions in
The climate for health care stocks has been uncertain as the prospect of sweeping health care legislation from Congress looms. The policies will aim to save billions of dollars in health care costs, which will likely reduce revenue at insurers like
. The fund eliminated its stakes in both stocks, which are down by more than 10% this year.
Investors trying to get ahead of the economic curve have been betting on consumer stocks this year in the hopes that spending will soon recover. Consumer stocks make up almost a quarter of the fund's assets.
The fund bought 4.3 million shares of Wal-Mart, 2 million shares of McDonald's and 1.9 million Dollar Tree shares during the quarter. Wal-Mart and McDonald's stocks have lost 9% and 11% of their value this year, respectively. Dollar Tree has gained 3.3%.
, the fund's biggest holding, rose 45% during the quarter, expanding the fund's stake by $148 million. The value of the Amazon.com position increased even as the number of shares held decreased by 1 million shares to just under 8.8 million shares.
Its second-biggest position,
, gained 22% during the quarter, appreciating by $128 million. The fund accumulated another 100,000 shares of Apple for a total of 6.3 million shares.
The T. Rowe Price Growth Stock Fund is rated B-minus by TheStreet.com Ratings, a recommendation to "buy."
Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TSC Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by TheStreet.com, covering mutual funds. He joined the Weiss Group in 1997 as a banking and brokerage analyst. In 1999, he created the Weiss Group's first ratings to gauge the level of risk in U.S. equities. Baker received a B.S. degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. with a finance specialization from Nova Southeastern University.