He said the company's investment performance continues to be strong, building on a good track record of the last two years.

T. Rowe Price is well positioned to take advantage of normal investment trends as more investors turn back to stocks. T. Rowe Price shares climbed $1.41, or 3 percent, to $49.88 in midday trading.

Fannon also initiated coverage of Franklin Resources Inc. with a "Hold" rating and a $115 price target, noting that the shares are up nearly 70 percent in 2009, compared with a more than 21 percent rise in the Standard & Poor's 500 index.

The company has a diverse base of assets under management spread across equities, hybrids, and fixed income products in U.S. and international markets. Compared to its peers, the company has among the highest percentage of assets outside of the U.S., an advantage as investor demand for greater international stock exposure grows, he said. Franklin Resources Inc. shares rose $1.82, or 1.7 percent, to $109.94.
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