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T. Rowe Price issues profit warning

US – Baltimore-based investment manager T. Rowe Price says it expects a 30% decline in first-quarter earnings due to a decline in US and foreign equity markets.

The firm - which runs around 958 million dollars in European pension assets - said in a statement that it expects first-quarter earnings to decline from the 0.41 dollars per share earned in the first quarter of 2002.

“The firm's assets under management are at lower levels than the first quarter of 2002, which was the strongest quarter of last year,” the company added.

“Due to these market declines, investment advisory fees declined more than 10% versus the first quarter of 2002.”

"Although the current environment is a concern for the company, the firm's relatively strong investment results and positive cash flows into its mutual funds and managed accounts make this an opportune time to invest for future growth," said chairman and president George Roche.

"The financial position of the company remains very strong,” he said, adding that it is undertaking initiatives such as investment management and international expansion. It would also look at its costs.

"The outlook for the economic and financial markets will remain uncertain as our country deals with the resolution of the conflict in Iraq,” Roche said.

“Despite this uncertainty and poor returns in the financial markets during the first quarter, we believe that the most likely outcome is one of improvement during the remainder of the year.”

The firm has a total of around 140 billion dollars in assets under management.

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