BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Few asset managers have instilled confidence post-2008 the way T. Rowe Price has. The firm, with $391 billion in assets under management, is known for its focus on retirement and conservative approach to investing -- a feature that paid off in 2008 as trendy and exotic investments got pummeled. At the helm of the firm's investment philosophy is Chief Investment Officer Brian Rogers.
Rogers, a Chartered Financial Analyst, wears more than a few hats. In addition to being CIO, he's the company's charman, and the manager of the $17.6 billion
With a research-driven investment approach to finding well-valued,
, Rogers' fund has been successful at outperforming the broad market as well as other funds in its category.
With that in mind, what's T. Rowe Price's guru buying right now? Here's a look at the
in its latest quarterly filing.
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By far, the fund's biggest addition in shares last quarter was Wall Street darling
. GE has traditionally been known as the bluest of blue chips, with a diversified business structure, a healthy balance sheet and a solid dividend payout. But shakeups could make things more exciting for this giant firm in 2010.
While GE has long been the majority owner of NBC Universal, a proposed $30 billion deal with cable giant
would shift its position to a minority stake, generating substantial free cash for GE's more lucrative capital requirements. The deal matches GE's internal policy of seeking out inter-unit synergies. Comcast would essentially own NBCU's networks and content archives, substantially reducing the cable carrier's programming costs. The deal is currently pending regulatory approval.
Right now, the biggest black cloud for GE is its Capital Services business, which has suffered from its extensive consumer lending operations in the last few years. GE has been shifting the unit's asset mix to focus on less-risky positions, but investors will have to deal with the repercussions of the company's lending for some time to come. That said, investors' eschewing of GE solely because of Capital Services concerns is largely unwarranted. That could make for an interesting value play right now. Rogers' Equity Income Fund picked up 1.25 million shares of GE last quarter.
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is continuing to have a strong quarter in spite of constant competition from the likes of
. In the last couple of decades, wireless services have shifted from an interesting novelty to the biggest part of AT&T's business, but lower-margin fixed line and internet services continue to deliver a large chunk of revenues. Still, as more wireless innovations dominate the communications market, expect AT&T Mobility to grow further.
The push to smartphones -- like the iPhone, which AT&T services exclusively in the U.S. -- has been an incredibly profitable move for AT&T. Smartphone customers substantially improve a carrier's margins, so it's no surprise that they're the ones carriers are willing to fight for. Competition has become especially fierce of late, and AT&T's ability to retain those customers could come into question as cellular plans become more commoditized and exclusive offerings jump ship. (
has reportedly ordered CDMA components for a Verizon-compatible iPhone variant in first-quarter 2011.)
This past week, AT&T and Verizon got some media attention when they announced that they were working with
to develop a payment system that would work in concert with consumers' cell phones. The move poses a significant risk to payment processors such as
. But we've got a while to see how this nascent technology pans out.
Rogers' Equity Income Fund picked up 200,000 shares of AT&T last quarter.
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It's been a difficult couple of months for
. The oil services giant has seen shares tumble double-digits since late April, when
brought significant questions into U.S. offshore drilling operations. But that weakness in the industry could be presenting value investors with attractive opportunities right now.
The risks in the U.S. market are significantly mitigated by Schlumberger's international operations, which the company has been working on developing in the last few years. With a solid footprint in Russia, Latin America and the Middle East, the company should be able to take advantage of growth opportunities in 2010 and beyond.
Rogers' Equity Income Fund picked up 250,000 shares of Schlumberger last quarter.
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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.
Jonas Elmerraji is the editor and portfolio manager of the Rhino Stock Report, a free investment advisory that returned 15% in 2008. He is a contributor to numerous financial outlets, including Forbes and Investopedia, and has been featured in Investor's Business Daily, in Consumer's Digest and on MSNBC.com.