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T. Rowe Price U.S. Equity Research Fund

Filed: 19 Feb 21, 10:30am

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM N-CSR

CERTIFIED SHAREHOLDER REPORT OF REGISTERED
MANAGEMENT INVESTMENT COMPANIES
 
 

Investment Company Act File Number: 811-07225

T. Rowe Price U.S. Equity Research Fund, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in charter)
 
100 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

(Address of principal executive offices)
 
David Oestreicher
100 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

(Name and address of agent for service)
 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (410) 345-2000
 
 
Date of fiscal year end: December 31
 
 
Date of reporting period: December 31, 2020





Item 1. Reports to Shareholders

(a) Report pursuant to Rule 30e-1.

T. Rowe Price Annual Report
U.S. Equity Research FundDecember 31, 2020
PRCOXInvestor Class
PACOXAdvisor Class
RRCOXR Class
PCCOXI Class

T. ROWE PRICE U.S. EQUITY RESEARCH FUND

HIGHLIGHTS

The U.S. Equity Research Fund outperformed the S&P 500 Index during the 12-month period ended December 31, 2020.
 
Stock selection in nine of 11 sectors contributed to relative returns during the reporting period.
 
Information technology, consumer discretionary, health care, and communication services were the fund’s largest sector allocations in absolute terms.
 
Rapid progress with a first wave of new COVID-19 vaccine technology is clearly the most positive sign for the year ahead. As the pandemic hopefully recedes and economies reopen, a broader economic recovery is likely to benefit many of the sectors that were most damaged by the virus.


Log in to your account at troweprice.com for more information.

*Certain mutual fund accounts that are assessed an annual account service fee can also save money by switching to e-delivery.

CIO Market Commentary

Dear Shareholder

Nearly all major stock and bond indexes produced positive results during 2020 as markets recovered from the steep sell-off that resulted from the spread of the coronavirus. Extraordinary fiscal and monetary support from global governments and central banks helped spur the rebound, although the pandemic continued to pose significant public health and economic challenges as the year came to an end.

In the U.S., the large-cap Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index reached record highs, as did the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index—a result that few would have predicted in late March after the benchmarks tumbled more than 30% as governments instituted lockdowns to try to halt the spread of the virus. Large-cap information technology and internet-related firms helped lead the rebound as they benefited from the work-from-home environment and an acceleration in demand for online services.

Within the S&P 500, the technology and consumer discretionary sectors were the top performers, and communication services and materials stocks also outperformed. Despite a late rally, the energy sector trailed with significant losses due to a plunge in oil prices.

Most equity markets outside the U.S. also performed well. Emerging markets outpaced developed markets, and Asian shares delivered strong results as China and other countries in the region proved relatively successful in containing the coronavirus.

Growth stocks significantly outpaced their value counterparts for the full year; however, value shares rallied late in the period. Positive vaccine news in November raised hopes for a return to normalcy in 2021 and boosted sectors that had been beaten down in the initial phases of the pandemic.

Within the fixed income universe, corporate bonds delivered strong results as the market easily absorbed a torrent of new issuance. After falling to record lows in March, intermediate- and longer-term Treasury yields ticked higher later in the year but remained very low by historical standards, a factor that encouraged investors to seek out riskier securities with higher return potential.

While investors had reason to cheer the market’s recovery, the global economic outlook remained unclear as the year came to an end. Most notable on the positive side was the start of vaccine distributions, which provided hope that the pandemic was in its final phase. In addition, Congress passed a $900 billion coronavirus relief package, supplementing the $2.4 trillion allocated to address the crisis earlier in the year, and the Fed continued to pledge very accommodative monetary policies for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, political uncertainty diminished with Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S. presidential election and the completion of a Brexit trade deal between the UK and the European Union.

On the negative side, concerns about a resurgence in virus hospitalizations led to new lockdowns and business restrictions in many countries, which in turn appeared to threaten economic recoveries. In the U.S., after a strong recovery in the summer and fall, the pace of hiring slowed late in the year, and household spending declined in November for the first time since April.

It was a remarkable 12-month period in many ways, but as far as markets are concerned, I can recall no calendar year that so starkly displayed evidence of both fear and greed. Fear emerged during the March sell-off and again in April as oil futures briefly traded in negative territory. Greed surfaced later as some assets seemed to continue to rally without fundamental support. Bitcoin rocketed to a record high of $29,000 by year-end, and the amount of money raised by initial public offerings also climbed to historic levels. While valuations are still attractive in some areas of the market, other sectors appear to have already priced in a strong rebound in earnings and are trading at elevated levels.

There are both risks and potential rewards in this environment, and we believe strong fundamental analysis and skilled active security selection will remain critical components of investment success.

Thank you for your continued confidence in T. Rowe Price.

Sincerely,


Robert Sharps
Group Chief Investment Officer

Management’s Discussion of Fund Performance

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE

The fund seeks to provide long-term capital growth by investing primarily in U.S. common stocks.

FUND COMMENTARY

How did the fund perform in the past 12 months?

The U.S. Equity Research Fund returned 19.81% for the 12 months ended December 31, 2020. The fund outperformed its benchmark, the S&P 500 Index, and its Lipper peer group. (Returns for the Advisor, R, and I Class shares varied slightly, reflecting their different fee structures. Past performance cannot guarantee future results.)


What factors influenced the fund’s performance?

The fund’s objective is to outperform the S&P 500 by investing in our research analysts’ highest-conviction stocks while keeping sector and industry allocations close to their weightings in the index. Stock selection in nine of 11 sectors contributed to positive relative performance during the period. The information technology, financials, and energy sectors contributed the most to relative results. No sectors detracted overall on a relative basis.

Stock selection in the information technology sector was the largest contributor to the fund’s relative performance versus the S&P 500, led by our overweight in graphic processing unit designer NVIDIA. The company saw recovery in its data center business and continued strength in its gaming business during the year. We appreciate NVIDIA’s dominant position in parallel processing, its software solutions to facilitate customer success, and its leverage to secular growth trends in artificial intelligence and autonomous driving. (Please refer to the fund’s portfolio of investments for a complete list of holdings and the amount each represents in the portfolio.)

An overweight in Lam Research, a leading supplier of semiconductor capital equipment, also added value. Customer demand for the company’s equipment accelerated during the period. During the fourth quarter, expectations that the incoming Biden administration will ease trade tensions with China also bolstered the stock. We expect Lam Research will benefit over the long term as customers step up spending to meet demand for memory chips and to drive innovation in logic chips. We believe the market does not fully appreciate the rising production cost curve in key semiconductor markets and the company’s growth prospects when the recovery cycle eventually takes hold.

An average underweight position in Bank of America aided relative gains in the financials sector. Coronavirus-related factors, including extreme volatility in the stock market and the Federal Reserve’s decision to cut interest rates to near zero, weighed on banks in early 2020. In July, we upgraded the stock and began adding to our position. Subsequently, the company reported second-quarter earnings that were driven by stronger-than-expected bond trading and investment bank revenue. During the fourth quarter, the stock rose on positive news regarding COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution. We like the company’s credit profile and its well-balanced business model.

Underweight positions in Chevron and ExxonMobil contributed to the fund’s relative performance in the energy sector. Oil prices plummeted during much of the year, driven by pricing clashes between Saudi Arabia and Russia as well as a decline in global oil demand due to coronavirus-related closures. The coronavirus pandemic also created delays and excess costs for Chevron’s Tengiz expansion project in Kazakhstan. We have concerns about the company’s higher exposure to oil than many of its peers, as well as its capital expenditure flexibility and execution risks related to the company’s project management track record. We remain underweight ExxonMobil as the company ramps up its capital expenditures, which we believe could ultimately delay cash flows, dividends, and earnings growth.

Stock selection in the communication services sector further aided the fund’s relative results. An overweight in social media platform Facebook was beneficial. After tumbling during the first quarter of 2020 due to fears that coronavirus-driven macroeconomic weakness would depress demand for the company’s advertising solutions, shares rebounded and continued to advance due to strong advertising growth and record-high engagement levels. Going forward, we believe that Facebook’s share of consumer time spent on mobile devices, coupled with its ad monetization and targeting capabilities, should help it generate advertising-led revenue growth over the next several years.

An overweight in Alphabet, the parent company of Google, also added value. The company benefited from a number of factors, including an increase in students and educators using Google’s “Classroom” service, an increase in demand for laptops running Google’s operating system, and solid revenue from YouTube. Although we acknowledge the expected adverse impact of the coronavirus outbreak on advertising budgets, we feel the company is set up for long-term success given its healthy balance sheet, unique growth profile, and unparalleled user base.

Overall, real estate contributed to the portfolio’s performance; although, stock selection within the sector was negative. Our average overweight positions in New York City office landlord SL Green Realty and mall owner Simon Property Group detracted as both companies were negatively impacted by stay-at-home orders and social distancing restrictions enacted during the coronavirus pandemic. We eliminated our position in SL Green Realty during the year.


How is the fund positioned?

Similar to the S&P 500, information technology, consumer discretionary, health care, and communication services were the fund’s largest sector positions in absolute terms and represented more than 60% of the fund’s net assets at the end of the period.

Wells Fargo, GE, and Eli Lilly and Co. represented the fund’s largest overweight stocks versus the benchmark. While we think Wells Fargo may face near-term pressure due to its exposure to core retail banking deposits, we believe the risk/reward profile is attractive longer term compared with those banks with more investment banking and trading exposure. We are optimistic about the efforts of GE CEO Larry Culp to strengthen the company’s balance sheet and improve operations. We also see value in GE’s aerospace division. We believe Eli Lilly has several late-stage assets with high probabilities of success that will benefit its visibility and revenue over the next 12 to 18 months. We also expect Eli Lilly’s base business will remain stable against competition and drug pricing pressures, and we are encouraged by management’s goal of increasing the company’s operating margin percentage over the next five years.

Notable additions to the portfolio during the period included electric vehicle maker Tesla, public utility holding company Ameren Corporation, and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

What is portfolio management’s outlook?

Rapid progress with a first wave of new COVID-19 vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology is clearly the most positive sign for the year ahead. As the pandemic hopefully recedes and economies reopen, a broader economic recovery is likely to benefit many of the sectors that were most damaged by the virus. While a rapid economic recovery could also bring an accelerated earnings recovery, this might not translate into strong equity returns, with much of the recovery already priced into the markets. However, investors will need to be careful about stock selection—seeking out companies that appear well positioned to emerge from the pandemic with lasting competitive advantages, while avoiding firms that face longer-term secular challenges.

Regardless of the stock market’s day-to-day performance, our investment strategy remains the same, relying on the insights of our research analysts to identify favorable long-term investment opportunities in each sector of the S&P 500 Index while keeping sector weights close to those of the benchmark.

The views expressed reflect the opinions of T. Rowe Price as of the date of this report and are subject to change based on changes in market, economic, or other conditions. These views are not intended to be a forecast of future events and are no guarantee of future results.

RISKS OF STOCK INVESTING

As with all stock mutual funds, the fund’s share price can fall because of weakness in the stock market, a particular industry, or specific holdings. Stock markets can decline for many reasons, including adverse political or economic developments, changes in investor psychology, or heavy institutional selling. The prospects for an industry or company may deteriorate because of a variety of factors, including disappointing earnings or changes in the competitive environment. In addition, the investment manager’s assessment of companies held in a fund may prove incorrect, resulting in losses or poor performance even in rising markets.

BENCHMARK INFORMATION

Note: Lipper, a Thomson Reuters Company, is the source for all Lipper content reflected in these materials. Copyright 2021 © Refinitiv. All rights reserved. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Lipper content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Lipper. Lipper shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Note: ©2021, S&P Global Market Intelligence. Reproduction of any information, data or material, including ratings (Content) in any form is prohibited except with the prior written permission of the relevant party. Such party, its affiliates and suppliers (Content Providers) do not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, timeliness or availability of any Content and are not responsible for any errors or omissions (negligent or otherwise), regardless of the cause, or for the results obtained from the use of such Content. In no event shall Content Providers be liable for any damages, costs, expenses, legal fees, or losses (including lost income or lost profit and opportunity costs) in connection with any use of the Content.


GROWTH OF $10,000

This chart shows the value of a hypothetical $10,000 investment in the fund over the past 10 fiscal year periods or since inception (for funds lacking 10-year records). The result is compared with benchmarks, which include a broad-based market index and may also include a peer group average or index. Market indexes do not include expenses, which are deducted from fund returns as well as mutual fund averages and indexes.


AVERAGE ANNUAL COMPOUND TOTAL RETURN

EXPENSE RATIO

FUND EXPENSE EXAMPLE

As a mutual fund shareholder, you may incur two types of costs: (1) transaction costs, such as redemption fees or sales loads, and (2) ongoing costs, including management fees, distribution and service (12b-1) fees, and other fund expenses. The following example is intended to help you understand your ongoing costs (in dollars) of investing in the fund and to compare these costs with the ongoing costs of investing in other mutual funds. The example is based on an investment of $1,000 invested at the beginning of the most recent six-month period and held for the entire period.

Please note that the fund has four share classes: The original share class (Investor Class) charges no distribution and service (12b-1) fee, Advisor Class shares are offered only through unaffiliated brokers and other financial intermediaries and charge a 0.25% 12b-1 fee, R Class shares are available to retirement plans serviced by intermediaries and charge a 0.50% 12b-1 fee, and I Class shares are available to institutionally oriented clients and impose no 12b-1 or administrative fee payment. Each share class is presented separately in the table.

Actual Expenses
The first line of the following table (Actual) provides information about actual account values and expenses based on the fund’s actual returns. You may use the information on this line, together with your account balance, to estimate the expenses that you paid over the period. Simply divide your account value by $1,000 (for example, an $8,600 account value divided by $1,000 = 8.6), then multiply the result by the number on the first line under the heading “Expenses Paid During Period” to estimate the expenses you paid on your account during this period.

Hypothetical Example for Comparison Purposes
The information on the second line of the table (Hypothetical) is based on hypothetical account values and expenses derived from the fund’s actual expense ratio and an assumed 5% per year rate of return before expenses (not the fund’s actual return). You may compare the ongoing costs of investing in the fund with other funds by contrasting this 5% hypothetical example and the 5% hypothetical examples that appear in the shareholder reports of the other funds. The hypothetical account values and expenses may not be used to estimate the actual ending account balance or expenses you paid for the period.

Note: T. Rowe Price charges an annual account service fee of $20, generally for accounts with less than $10,000. The fee is waived for any investor whose T. Rowe Price mutual fund accounts total $50,000 or more; accounts electing to receive electronic delivery of account statements, transaction confirmations, prospectuses, and shareholder reports; or accounts of an investor who is a T. Rowe Price Personal Services or Enhanced Personal Services client (enrollment in these programs generally requires T. Rowe Price assets of at least $250,000). This fee is not included in the accompanying table. If you are subject to the fee, keep it in mind when you are estimating the ongoing expenses of investing in the fund and when comparing the expenses of this fund with other funds.

You should also be aware that the expenses shown in the table highlight only your ongoing costs and do not reflect any transaction costs, such as redemption fees or sales loads. Therefore, the second line of the table is useful in comparing ongoing costs only and will not help you determine the relative total costs of owning different funds. To the extent a fund charges transaction costs, however, the total cost of owning that fund is higher.






The accompanying notes are an integral part of these financial statements.




The accompanying notes are an integral part of these financial statements.




The accompanying notes are an integral part of these financial statements.




The accompanying notes are an integral part of these financial statements.

December 31, 2020





















The accompanying notes are an integral part of these financial statements.

December 31, 2020


 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these financial statements.



The accompanying notes are an integral part of these financial statements.


 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these financial statements.

NOTES TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

T. Rowe Price U.S. Equity Research Fund, Inc. (the fund) is registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the 1940 Act) as a diversified, open-end management investment company. The fund seeks to provide long-term capital growth by investing primarily in U.S. common stocks. The fund has four classes of shares: the U.S. Equity Research Fund (Investor Class), the U.S. Equity Research Fund–Advisor Class (Advisor Class), the U.S. Equity Research Fund–R Class (R Class), and the U.S. Equity Research Fund–I Class (I Class). Advisor Class shares are sold only through various brokers and other financial intermediaries, and R Class shares are available through financial intermediaries for employer-sponsored defined contribution retirement plans and certain other retirement accounts. I Class shares require a $1 million initial investment minimum, although the minimum generally is waived for retirement plans, financial intermediaries, and certain other accounts. The Advisor Class and R Class each operate under separate Board-approved Rule 12b-1 plans, pursuant to which each class compensates financial intermediaries for distribution, shareholder servicing, and/or certain administrative services; the Investor and I Classes do not pay Rule 12b-1 fees. Each class has exclusive voting rights on matters related solely to that class; separate voting rights on matters that relate to all classes; and, in all other respects, the same rights and obligations as the other classes.

NOTE 1 - SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

Basis of Preparation The fund is an investment company and follows accounting and reporting guidance in the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Accounting Standards Codification Topic 946 (ASC 946). The accompanying financial statements were prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP), including, but not limited to, ASC 946. GAAP requires the use of estimates made by management. Management believes that estimates and valuations are appropriate; however, actual results may differ from those estimates, and the valuations reflected in the accompanying financial statements may differ from the value ultimately realized upon sale or maturity.

Investment Transactions, Investment Income, and Distributions Investment transactions are accounted for on the trade date basis. Income and expenses are recorded on the accrual basis. Realized gains and losses are reported on the identified cost basis. Premiums and discounts on debt securities are amortized for financial reporting purposes. Income tax-related interest and penalties, if incurred, are recorded as income tax expense. Dividends received from mutual fund investments are reflected as dividend income; capital gain distributions are reflected as realized gain/loss. Dividend income and capital gain distributions are recorded on the ex-dividend date. Distributions from REITs are initially recorded as dividend income and, to the extent such represent a return of capital or capital gain for tax purposes, are reclassified when such information becomes available. Non-cash dividends, if any, are recorded at the fair market value of the asset received. Distributions to shareholders are recorded on the ex-dividend date. Income distributions, if any, are declared and paid by each class annually. A capital gain distribution may also be declared and paid by the fund annually.

Class Accounting Shareholder servicing, prospectus, and shareholder report expenses incurred by each class are charged directly to the class to which they relate. Expenses common to all classes, investment income, and realized and unrealized gains and losses are allocated to the classes based upon the relative daily net assets of each class. The Advisor Class and R Class each pay Rule 12b-1 fees, in an amount not exceeding 0.25% and 0.50%, respectively, of the class’s average daily net assets.

Capital Transactions Each investor’s interest in the net assets of the fund is represented by fund shares. The fund’s net asset value (NAV) per share is computed at the close of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), normally 4 p.m. ET, each day the NYSE is open for business. However, the NAV per share may be calculated at a time other than the normal close of the NYSE if trading on the NYSE is restricted, if the NYSE closes earlier, or as may be permitted by the SEC. Purchases and redemptions of fund shares are transacted at the next-computed NAV per share, after receipt of the transaction order by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., or its agents.

Indemnification In the normal course of business, the fund may provide indemnification in connection with its officers and directors, service providers, and/or private company investments. The fund’s maximum exposure under these arrangements is unknown; however, the risk of material loss is currently considered to be remote.

NOTE 2 - VALUATION

Fair Value The fund’s financial instruments are valued at the close of the NYSE and are reported at fair value, which GAAP defines as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. The T. Rowe Price Valuation Committee (the Valuation Committee) is an internal committee that has been delegated certain responsibilities by the fund’s Board of Directors (the Board) to ensure that financial instruments are appropriately priced at fair value in accordance with GAAP and the 1940 Act. Subject to oversight by the Board, the Valuation Committee develops and oversees pricing-related policies and procedures and approves all fair value determinations. Specifically, the Valuation Committee establishes policies and procedures used in valuing financial instruments, including those which cannot be valued in accordance with normal procedures or using pricing vendors; determines pricing techniques, sources, and persons eligible to effect fair value pricing actions; evaluates the services and performance of the pricing vendors; oversees the pricing process to ensure policies and procedures are being followed; and provides guidance on internal controls and valuation-related matters. The Valuation Committee provides periodic reporting to the Board on valuation matters.

Various valuation techniques and inputs are used to determine the fair value of financial instruments. GAAP establishes the following fair value hierarchy that categorizes the inputs used to measure fair value:

Level 1 – quoted prices (unadjusted) in active markets for identical financial instruments that the fund can access at the reporting date

Level 2 – inputs other than Level 1 quoted prices that are observable, either directly or indirectly (including, but not limited to, quoted prices for similar financial instruments in active markets, quoted prices for identical or similar financial instruments in inactive markets, interest rates and yield curves, implied volatilities, and credit spreads)

Level 3 – unobservable inputs (including the fund’s own assumptions in determining fair value)

Observable inputs are developed using market data, such as publicly available information about actual events or transactions, and reflect the assumptions that market participants would use to price the financial instrument. Unobservable inputs are those for which market data are not available and are developed using the best information available about the assumptions that market participants would use to price the financial instrument. GAAP requires valuation techniques to maximize the use of relevant observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs. When multiple inputs are used to derive fair value, the financial instrument is assigned to the level within the fair value hierarchy based on the lowest-level input that is significant to the fair value of the financial instrument. Input levels are not necessarily an indication of the risk or liquidity associated with financial instruments at that level but rather the degree of judgment used in determining those values.

Valuation Techniques Equity securities, including exchange-traded funds, listed or regularly traded on a securities exchange or in the over-the-counter (OTC) market are valued at the last quoted sale price or, for certain markets, the official closing price at the time the valuations are made. OTC Bulletin Board securities are valued at the mean of the closing bid and asked prices. A security that is listed or traded on more than one exchange is valued at the quotation on the exchange determined to be the primary market for such security. Listed securities not traded on a particular day are valued at the mean of the closing bid and asked prices for domestic securities.

Debt securities generally are traded in the OTC market and are valued at prices furnished by independent pricing services or by broker dealers who make markets in such securities. When valuing securities, the independent pricing services consider the yield or price of bonds of comparable quality, coupon, maturity, and type, as well as prices quoted by dealers who make markets in such securities.

Investments in mutual funds are valued at the mutual fund’s closing NAV per share on the day of valuation. Futures contracts are valued at closing settlement prices. Assets and liabilities other than financial instruments, including short-term receivables and payables, are carried at cost, or estimated realizable value, if less, which approximates fair value.

Investments for which market quotations or market-based valuations are not readily available or deemed unreliable are valued at fair value as determined in good faith by the Valuation Committee, in accordance with fair valuation policies and procedures. The objective of any fair value pricing determination is to arrive at a price that could reasonably be expected from a current sale. Financial instruments fair valued by the Valuation Committee are primarily private placements, restricted securities, warrants, rights, and other securities that are not publicly traded. Factors used in determining fair value vary by type of investment and may include market or investment specific considerations. The Valuation Committee typically will afford greatest weight to actual prices in arm’s length transactions, to the extent they represent orderly transactions between market participants, transaction information can be reliably obtained, and prices are deemed representative of fair value. However, the Valuation Committee may also consider other valuation methods such as market-based valuation multiples; a discount or premium from market value of a similar, freely traded security of the same issuer; discounted cash flows; yield to maturity; or some combination. Fair value determinations are reviewed on a regular basis and updated as information becomes available, including actual purchase and sale transactions of the investment. Because any fair value determination involves a significant amount of judgment, there is a degree of subjectivity inherent in such pricing decisions, and fair value prices determined by the Valuation Committee could differ from those of other market participants.

Valuation Inputs The following table summarizes the fund’s financial instruments, based on the inputs used to determine their fair values on December 31, 2020 (for further detail by category, please refer to the accompanying Portfolio of Investments):

NOTE 3 - DERIVATIVE INSTRUMENTS

During the year ended December 31, 2020, the fund invested in derivative instruments. As defined by GAAP, a derivative is a financial instrument whose value is derived from an underlying security price, foreign exchange rate, interest rate, index of prices or rates, or other variable; it requires little or no initial investment and permits or requires net settlement. The fund invests in derivatives only if the expected risks and rewards are consistent with its investment objectives, policies, and overall risk profile, as described in its prospectus and Statement of Additional Information. The fund may use derivatives for a variety of purposes, such as seeking to hedge against declines in principal value, increase yield, invest in an asset with greater efficiency and at a lower cost than is possible through direct investment, to enhance return, or to adjust credit exposure. The risks associated with the use of derivatives are different from, and potentially much greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in the instruments on which the derivatives are based. The fund at all times maintains sufficient cash reserves, liquid assets, or other SEC-permitted asset types to cover its settlement obligations under open derivative contracts.

The fund values its derivatives at fair value and recognizes changes in fair value currently in its results of operations. Accordingly, the fund does not follow hedge accounting, even for derivatives employed as economic hedges. Generally, the fund accounts for its derivatives on a gross basis. It does not offset the fair value of derivative liabilities against the fair value of derivative assets on its financial statements, nor does it offset the fair value of derivative instruments against the right to reclaim or obligation to return collateral. As of December 31, 2020, the fund held equity futures with cumulative unrealized gain of $527,000; the value reflected on the accompanying Statement of Assets and Liabilities is the related unsettled variation margin.

Additionally, during the year ended December 31, 2020, the fund recognized $1,504,000 of realized gain on Futures and a $420,000 change in unrealized gain/loss on Futures related to its investments in equity derivatives; such amounts are included on the accompanying Statement of Operations.

Counterparty Risk and Collateral The fund invests in exchange-traded or centrally cleared derivative contracts, such as futures, exchange-traded options, and centrally cleared swaps. Counterparty risk on such derivatives is minimal because the clearinghouse provides protection against counterparty defaults. For futures and centrally cleared swaps, the fund is required to deposit collateral in an amount specified by the clearinghouse and the clearing firm (margin requirement), and the margin requirement must be maintained over the life of the contract. Each clearinghouse and clearing firm, in its sole discretion, may adjust the margin requirements applicable to the fund.

Collateral may be in the form of cash or debt securities issued by the U.S. government or related agencies. Cash posted by the fund is reflected as cash deposits in the accompanying financial statements and generally is restricted from withdrawal by the fund; securities posted by the fund are so noted in the accompanying Portfolio of Investments; both remain in the fund’s assets. While typically not sold in the same manner as equity or fixed income securities, exchange-traded or centrally cleared derivatives may be closed out only on the exchange or clearinghouse where the contracts were traded.This ability is subject to the liquidity of underlying positions. As of December 31, 2020, securities valued at $2,309,000 had been posted by the fund for exchange-traded and/or centrally cleared derivatives.

Futures Contracts The fund is subject to equity price risk in the normal course of pursuing its investment objectives and uses futures contracts to help manage such risk. The fund may enter into futures contracts to manage exposure to interest rates, security prices, foreign currencies, and credit quality; as an efficient means of adjusting exposure to all or part of a target market; to enhance income; as a cash management tool; or to adjust credit exposure. A futures contract provides for the future sale by one party and purchase by another of a specified amount of a specific underlying financial instrument at an agreed-upon price, date, time, and place. The fund currently invests only in exchange-traded futures, which generally are standardized as to maturity date, underlying financial instrument, and other contract terms. Payments are made or received by the fund each day to settle daily fluctuations in the value of the contract (variation margin), which reflect changes in the value of the underlying financial instrument. Variation margin is recorded as unrealized gain or loss until the contract is closed. The value of a futures contract included in net assets is the amount of unsettled variation margin; net variation margin receivable is reflected as an asset and net variation margin payable is reflected as a liability on the accompanying Statement of Assets and Liabilities. Risks related to the use of futures contracts include possible illiquidity of the futures markets, contract prices that can be highly volatile and imperfectly correlated to movements in hedged security values, and potential losses in excess of the fund’s initial investment. During the year ended December 31, 2020, the volume of the fund’s activity in futures, based on underlying notional amounts, was generally less than 1% of net assets.

NOTE 4 - OTHER INVESTMENT TRANSACTIONS

Other Purchases and sales of portfolio securities other than short-term and U.S. government securities aggregated $3,231,632,000 and $1,372,497,000, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2020.

NOTE 5 - FEDERAL INCOME TAXES

Generally, no provision for federal income taxes is required since the fund intends to continue to qualify as a regulated investment company under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code and distribute to shareholders all of its taxable income and gains. Distributions determined in accordance with federal income tax regulations may differ in amount or character from net investment income and realized gains for financial reporting purposes.

The fund files U.S. federal, state, and local tax returns as required. The fund’s tax returns are subject to examination by the relevant tax authorities until expiration of the applicable statute of limitations, which is generally three years after the filing of the tax return but which can be extended to six years in certain circumstances. Tax returns for open years have incorporated no uncertain tax positions that require a provision for income taxes.

Financial reporting records are adjusted for permanent book/tax differences to reflect tax character but are not adjusted for temporary differences. The permanent book/tax adjustments have no impact on results of operations or net assets and relate primarily to a tax practice that treats a portion of the proceeds from each redemption of capital shares as a distribution of taxable net investment income or realized capital gain. For the year ended December 31, 2020, the following reclassification was recorded:


Distributions during the years ended December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, were characterized for tax purposes as follows:


At December 31, 2020, the tax-basis cost of investments, including derivatives, and components of net assets were as follows:


The difference between book-basis and tax-basis net unrealized appreciation (depreciation) is attributable to the deferral of losses from wash sales for tax purposes.

NOTE 6 - ACQUISITION

On November 18, 2019, the fund acquired substantially all of the assets of the T. Rowe Price Institutional U.S. Structured Research Fund (the acquired fund), pursuant to the Agreement and Plan of Reorganization dated July 31, 2019. The acquired fund was available only to institutional investors and required an initial investment of $1,000,000; the same as the fund’s I Class investment minimum. The acquired fund shared a nearly identical investment program as the fund and had the same net expense ratio. Accordingly, it no longer made sense to offer both funds. The Boards of the acquired fund and the fund approved the reorganization and, the Board of the acquired fund approved its liquidation and dissolution. The acquisition was accomplished by a tax-free exchange of 30,738,000 shares of the fund with a value of $926,763,000 for all 68,612,000 shares of the acquired fund then outstanding, with the same value. The exchange was based on values at the close of the NYSE on the immediately preceding business day, November 15, 2019. The net assets of the acquired fund at that date included $356,387,000 of unrealized appreciation. Assets of the acquired fund, including securities of $925,870,000, cash of $1,237,000, and receivables and other assets of $1,025,000, and payables of $1,369,000, were combined with those of the fund, resulting in aggregate net assets of $2,798,744,000 immediately after the acquisition.

Pro forma results of operations of the combined entity for the entire year ended December 31, 2019, as though the acquisition had occurred as of the beginning of the year (rather than on the actual acquisition date), are as follows:

NOTE 7 - RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

The fund is managed by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. (Price Associates), a wholly owned subsidiary of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. (Price Group). The investment management agreement between the fund and Price Associates provides for an annual investment management fee, which is computed daily and paid monthly. The fee consists of an individual fund fee, equal to 0.04% of the fund’s average daily net assets, and a group fee. The group fee rate is calculated based on the combined net assets of certain mutual funds sponsored by Price Associates (the group) applied to a graduated fee schedule, with rates ranging from 0.48% for the first $1 billion of assets to 0.260% for assets in excess of $845 billion. The fund’s group fee is determined by applying the group fee rate to the fund’s average daily net assets. The fee is computed daily and paid monthly. At December 31, 2020, the effective annual group fee rate was 0.28%. Effective November 1, 2019, Price Associates agreed to permanently waive a portion of the fund’s annual investment management fee in order to limit the fund’s management fees to 0.33% of the fund’s average daily net assets. This agreement can only be modified or terminated with approval by the fund’s shareholders. The fund has no obligation to repay fees waived under this arrangement. No management fees were waived under this arrangement for the year ended December 31, 2020.

The Investor Class, Advisor Class, and R Class are each subject to a contractual expense limitation through the expense limitation dates indicated in the table below. During the limitation period, Price Associates is required to waive its management fee or pay any expenses (excluding interest; expenses related to borrowings, taxes, and brokerage; and other non-recurring expenses permitted by the investment management agreement) that would otherwise cause the class’s ratio of annualized total expenses to average net assets (net expense ratio) to exceed its expense limitation. Each class is required to repay Price Associates for expenses previously waived/paid to the extent the class’s net assets grow or expenses decline sufficiently to allow repayment without causing the class’s net expense ratio (after the repayment is taken into account) to exceed the lesser of: (1) the expense limitation in place at the time such amounts were waived; or (2) the class’s current expense limitation. However, no repayment will be made more than three years after the date of a payment or waiver.

The I Class is also subject to an operating expense limitation (I Class Limit) pursuant to which Price Associates is contractually required to pay all operating expenses of the I Class, excluding management fees; interest; expenses related to borrowings, taxes, and brokerage; and other non-recurring expenses permitted by the investment management agreement, to the extent such operating expenses, on an annualized basis, exceed the I Class Limit. This agreement will continue through the expense limitation date indicated in the table below, and may be renewed, revised, or revoked only with approval of the fund’s Board. The I Class is required to repay Price Associates for expenses previously paid to the extent the class’s net assets grow or expenses decline sufficiently to allow repayment without causing the class’s operating expenses (after the repayment is taken into account) to exceed the lesser of: (1) the I Class Limit in place at the time such amounts were paid; or (2) the current I Class Limit. However, no repayment will be made more than three years after the date of a payment or waiver.

Pursuant to these agreements, expenses were waived/paid by and/or repaid to Price Associates during the year ended December 31, 2020 as indicated in the table below. At December 31, 2020, there were no amounts subject to repayment by the fund. Any repayment of expenses previously waived/paid by Price Associates during the period would be included in the net investment income and expense ratios presented on the accompanying Financial Highlights.


In addition, the fund has entered into service agreements with Price Associates and two wholly owned subsidiaries of Price Associates, each an affiliate of the fund (collectively, Price). Price Associates provides certain accounting and administrative services to the fund. T. Rowe Price Services, Inc. provides shareholder and administrative services in its capacity as the fund’s transfer and dividend-disbursing agent. T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services, Inc. provides subaccounting and recordkeeping services for certain retirement accounts invested in the Investor Class, Advisor Class and R Class. For the year ended December 31, 2020, expenses incurred pursuant to these service agreements were $65,000 for Price Associates; $418,000 for T. Rowe Price Services, Inc.; and $19,000 for T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services, Inc. All amounts due to and due from Price, exclusive of investment management fees payable, are presented net on the accompanying Statement of Assets and Liabilities.

The fund may invest its cash reserves in certain open-end management investment companies managed by Price Associates and considered affiliates of the fund: the T. Rowe Price Government Reserve Fund or the T. Rowe Price Treasury Reserve Fund, organized as money market funds, or the T. Rowe Price Short-Term Fund, a short-term bond fund (collectively, the Price Reserve Funds). The Price Reserve Funds are offered as short-term investment options to mutual funds, trusts, and other accounts managed by Price Associates or its affiliates and are not available for direct purchase by members of the public. Cash collateral from securities lending is invested in the T. Rowe Price Short-Term Fund. The Price Reserve Funds pay no investment management fees.

The fund may participate in securities purchase and sale transactions with other funds or accounts advised by Price Associates (cross trades), in accordance with procedures adopted by the fund’s Board and Securities and Exchange Commission rules, which require, among other things, that such purchase and sale cross trades be effected at the independent current market price of the security. During the year ended December 31, 2020, the fund had no purchases or sales cross trades with other funds or accounts advised by Price Associates.

Effective January 1, 2020, Price Associates has voluntarily agreed to reimburse the fund from its own resources on a monthly basis for the cost of investment research embedded in the cost of the fund’s securities trades. This agreement may be rescinded at any time. For the year ended December 31, 2020, this reimbursement amounted to $61,000, which is included in Net realized gain (loss) on Securities in the Statement of Operations.

NOTE 8 - OTHER MATTERS

Unpredictable events such as environmental or natural disasters, war, terrorism, pandemics, outbreaks of infectious diseases, and similar public health threats may significantly affect the economy and the markets and issuers in which a fund invests. Certain events may cause instability across global markets, including reduced liquidity and disruptions in trading markets, while some events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors, and industries more significantly than others, and exacerbate other pre-existing political, social, and economic risks. During 2020, a novel strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) resulted in disruptions to global business activity and caused significant volatility and declines in global financial markets.

These types of events, such as the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, may also cause widespread fear and uncertainty, and result in, among other things: enhanced health screenings, quarantines, cancellations, and travel restrictions, including border closings; disruptions to business operations, supply chains and customer activity; exchange trading suspensions and closures, and overall reduced liquidity of securities, derivatives, and commodities trading markets; reductions in consumer demand and economic output; and significant challenges in healthcare service preparation and delivery. The fund could be negatively impacted if the value of a portfolio holding were harmed by such political or economic conditions or events. In addition, the operations of the fund, its investment advisers, and the fund’s service providers may be significantly impacted, or even temporarily halted, as a result of any impairment to their information technology and other operational systems, extensive employee illnesses or unavailability, government quarantine measures, and restrictions on travel or meetings and other factors related to public emergencies.

Governmental and quasi-governmental authorities and regulators have in the past responded to major economic disruptions with a variety of significant fiscal and monetary policy changes, including but not limited to, direct capital infusions into companies, new monetary programs, and dramatically lower interest rates. An unexpected or quick reversal of these policies, or the ineffectiveness of these policies, could negatively impact overall investor sentiment and further increase volatility in securities markets. The impact of this outbreak has adversely affected the economies of many nations and the entire global economy and may impact individual issuers and capital markets in ways that cannot be foreseen. Other infectious illness outbreaks that may arise in the future could have similar or other unforeseen effects. The duration of this outbreak or others and their effects cannot be determined with certainty.

REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

To the Board of Directors and Shareholders of
T. Rowe Price U.S. Equity Research Fund, Inc.

Opinion on the Financial Statements
We have audited the accompanying statement of assets and liabilities, including the portfolio of investments, of T. Rowe Price U.S. Equity Research Fund, Inc. (the “Fund”) as of December 31, 2020, the related statement of operations for the year ended December 31, 2020, the statement of changes in net assets for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2020, including the related notes, and the financial highlights for each of the periods indicated therein (collectively referred to as the “financial statements”). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Fund as of December 31, 2020, the results of its operations for the year then ended, the changes in its net assets for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2020 and the financial highlights for each of the periods indicated therein, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

Basis for Opinion
These financial statements are the responsibility of the Fund’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Fund’s financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Fund in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits of these financial statements in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud.

Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. Our procedures included confirmation of securities owned as of December 31, 2020 by correspondence with the custodian, transfer agent and brokers; when replies were not received from brokers, we performed other auditing procedures. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Baltimore, Maryland
February 17, 2021

We have served as the auditor of one or more investment companies in the T. Rowe Price group of investment companies since 1973.

TAX INFORMATION (UNAUDITED) FOR THE TAX YEAR ENDED 12/31/20

We are providing this information as required by the Internal Revenue Code. The amounts shown may differ from those elsewhere in this report because of differences between tax and financial reporting requirements.

The fund’s distributions to shareholders included:

$3,472,000 from short-term capital gains.
 
$8,511,000 from long-term capital gains, subject to a long-term capital gains tax rate of not greater than 20%.

For taxable non-corporate shareholders, $66,598,000 the fund’s income represents qualified dividend income subject to a long-term capital gains tax rate of not greater than 20%.

For corporate shareholders, $63,229,000 of the fund’s income qualifies for the dividends-received deduction.

For individuals and certain trusts and estates which are entitled to claim a deduction of up to 20% of their combined qualified real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends, $53,000 of the fund’s income qualifies as qualified real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends.

INFORMATION ON PROXY VOTING POLICIES, PROCEDURES, AND RECORDS

A description of the policies and procedures used by T. Rowe Price funds and portfolios to determine how to vote proxies relating to portfolio securities is available in each fund’s Statement of Additional Information. You may request this document by calling 1-800-225-5132 or by accessing the SEC’s website, sec.gov.

The description of our proxy voting policies and procedures is also available on our corporate website. To access it, please visit the following Web page:

https://www.troweprice.com/corporate/en/utility/policies.html

Scroll down to the section near the bottom of the page that says, “Proxy Voting Policies.” Click on the Proxy Voting Policies link in the shaded box.

Each fund’s most recent annual proxy voting record is available on our website and through the SEC’s website. To access it through T. Rowe Price, visit the website location shown above, and scroll down to the section near the bottom of the page that says, “Proxy Voting Records.” Click on the Proxy Voting Records link in the shaded box.

HOW TO OBTAIN QUARTERLY PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS

Effective for reporting periods on or after March 1, 2019, a fund, except a money market fund, files a complete schedule of portfolio holdings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the first and third quarters of each fiscal year as an exhibit to its reports on Form N-PORT. Prior to March 1, 2019, a fund, including a money market fund, filed a complete schedule of portfolio holdings with the SEC for the first and third quarters of each fiscal year on Form N-Q. A money market fund files detailed month-end portfolio holdings information on Form N-MFP with the SEC each month and posts a complete schedule of portfolio holdings on its website (troweprice.com) as of each month-end for the previous six months. A fund’s Forms N-PORT, N-MFP, and N-Q are available electronically on the SEC’s website (sec.gov).

ABOUT THE FUND’S DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS

Your fund is overseen by a Board of Directors (Board) that meets regularly to review a wide variety of matters affecting or potentially affecting the fund, including performance, investment programs, compliance matters, advisory fees and expenses, service providers, and business and regulatory affairs. The Board elects the fund’s officers, who are listed in the final table. At least 75% of the Board’s members are considered to be independent, i.e., not “interested persons” as defined in Section 2(a)(19) of the 1940 Act, of the Boards of T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. (T. Rowe Price), and its affiliates; “interested” directors and officers are employees of T. Rowe Price. The business address of each director and officer is 100 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. The Statement of Additional Information includes additional information about the fund directors and is available without charge by calling a T. Rowe Price representative at 1-800-638-5660.

INDEPENDENT DIRECTORS(a)

Name
(Year of Birth)
Year Elected
[Number of T. Rowe Price
Portfolios Overseen]

     Principal Occupation(s) and Directorships of Public Companies and Other Investment Companies During the Past Five Years
   

Teresa Bryce Bazemore
(1959)
2018
[190]

President, Radian Guaranty (2008 to 2017); Chief Executive Officer, Bazemore Consulting LLC (2018 to present); Director, Chimera Investment Corporation (2017 to present); Director, First Industrial Realty Trust (2020 to present); Director, Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (2017 to 2019)

 

Ronald J. Daniels
(1959)
2018
[190]

President, The Johns Hopkins University(b) and Professor, Political Science Department, The Johns Hopkins University (2009 to present); Director, Lyndhurst Holdings (2015 to present); Director, BridgeBio Pharma, Inc. (2020 to present)

 

Bruce W. Duncan
(1951)
2013
[190]

President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director, CyrusOne, Inc. (2020 to present); Chief Executive Officer and Director (2009 to 2016), Chairman of the Board (2016 to 2020), and President (2009 to 2016), First Industrial Realty Trust, owner and operator of industrial properties; Chairman of the Board (2005 to 2016) and Director (1999 to 2016), Starwood Hotels & Resorts, a hotel and leisure company; Member, Investment Company Institute Board of Governors (2017 to 2019); Member, Independent Directors Council Governing Board (2017 to 2019); Senior Advisor, KKR (2018 to present); Director, Boston Properties (2016 to present); Director, Marriott International, Inc. (2016 to 2020)

 

Robert J. Gerrard, Jr.
(1952)
2012
[190]

Advisory Board Member, Pipeline Crisis/Winning Strategies, a collaborative working to improve opportunities for young African Americans (1997 to 2016); Chairman of the Board, all funds (since July 2018)

 

Paul F. McBride
(1956)
2013
[190]

Advisory Board Member, Vizzia Technologies (2015 to present); Board Member, Dunbar Armored (2012 to 2018)

 

Cecilia E. Rouse, Ph.D.
(1963)
2012
[190]

Dean, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (2012 to present); Professor and Researcher, Princeton University (1992 to present); Director of Education Studies Committee, MDRC, a nonprofit education and social policy research organization (2011 to 2020); Member, National Academy of Education (2010 to present); Board Member, National Bureau of Economic Research (2011 to present); Board Member of the Council on Foreign Relations (2018 to present); Board Member, The Pennington School (2017 to present); Board Member, the University of Rhode Island (2020 to present); Chair of Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economic Profession of the American Economic Association (2012 to 2018); Vice President (2015 to 2016) and Board Member (2018 to present), American Economic Association

 

John G. Schreiber
(1946)
2001
[190]

Owner/President, Centaur Capital Partners, Inc., a real estate investment company (1991 to present); Cofounder, Partner, and Cochairman of the Investment Committee, Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, L.P. (1992 to 2015); Director, Blackstone Mortgage Trust, a real estate finance company (2012 to 2016); Director and Chairman of the Board, Brixmor Property Group, Inc. (2013 to present); Director, Hilton Worldwide (2007 to present); Director, Hudson Pacific Properties (2014 to 2016); Director, Invitation Homes (2014 to 2017); Director, JMB Realty Corporation (1980 to present)

 

(a)All information about the independent directors was current as of December 31, 2019, unless otherwise indicated, except for the number of portfolios overseen, which is current as of the date of this report.

(b)William J. Stromberg, president and chief executive officer of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., the parent company of the Price Funds’ investment advisor, has served on the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins University since 2014.

INTERESTED DIRECTORS(a)

Name
(Year of Birth)
Year Elected
[Number of T. Rowe Price
Portfolios Overseen]

     Principal Occupation(s) and Directorships of Public Companies and Other Investment Companies During the Past Five Years
   

David Oestreicher
(1967)
2018
[190]

General Counsel, Vice President, and Secretary, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.; Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, President, and Secretary, T. Rowe Price Trust Company; Director, Vice President, and Secretary, T. Rowe Price, T. Rowe Price Investment Services, Inc., T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services, Inc., and T. Rowe Price Services, Inc.; Vice President and Secretary, T. Rowe Price International; Vice President, T. Rowe Price Hong Kong (Price Hong Kong), T. Rowe Price Japan (Price Japan), and T. Rowe Price Singapore (Price Singapore); Principal Executive Officer and Executive Vice President, all funds

 

Robert W. Sharps, CFA, CPA
(1971)
2017
[190]

Director and Vice President, T. Rowe Price; Vice President, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., and T. Rowe Price Trust Company

 

(a)All information about the interested directors was current as of December 31, 2019, unless otherwise indicated, except for the number of portfolios overseen, which is current as of the date of this report.

OFFICERS

Name (Year of Birth)
Position Held With U.S. Equity Research Fund
     Principal Occupation(s)
 
Kennard W. Allen (1977)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 
Peter J. Bates, CFA (1974)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 
Darrell N. Braman (1963)
Vice President
Vice President, Price Hong Kong, Price Singapore, T. Rowe Price, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., T. Rowe Price International, T. Rowe Price Investment Services, Inc., and T. Rowe Price Services, Inc.
 
Christopher W. Carlson (1967)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 
Ira W. Carnahan (1963)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 
Alan S. Dupski, CPA (1982)
Principal Financial Officer, Vice President,
and Treasurer
Vice President, T. Rowe Price, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., and T. Rowe Price Trust Company
 
Donald J. Easley, CFA (1971)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 
Joseph B. Fath, CPA (1971)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., and T. Rowe Price Trust Company
 
Mark S. Finn, CFA, CPA (1963)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., and T. Rowe Price Trust Company
 
Jon M. Friar (1982)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 
John R. Gilner (1961)
Chief Compliance Officer
Chief Compliance Officer and Vice President, T. Rowe Price; Vice President, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., and T. Rowe Price Investment Services, Inc.
 
Gary J. Greb (1961)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price, T. Rowe Price International, and T. Rowe Price Trust Company
 
Paul D. Greene II (1978)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 
Ryan S. Hedrick, CFA (1980)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 
Ann M. Holcomb, CFA (1972)
Co-president
Vice President, T. Rowe Price, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., and T. Rowe Price Trust Company
 
Paul J. Krug, CPA (1964)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., and T. Rowe Price Trust Company
 
Joshua Nelson (1977)
Co-president
Vice President, T. Rowe Price, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., T. Rowe Price International, and T. Rowe Price Trust Company
 
Jason Nogueira, CFA (1974)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 
Fran M. Pollack-Matz (1961)
Vice President and Secretary
Vice President, T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 
Jason B. Polun, CFA (1974)
Co-president
Vice President, T. Rowe Price, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., and T. Rowe Price Trust Company
 
Shannon H. Rauser (1987)
Assistant Secretary
Assistant Vice President, T. Rowe Price
 
Jeffrey Rottinghaus, CPA (1970)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., and T. Rowe Price Trust Company
 
Matthew J. Snowling, CFA (1971)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 
Ken D. Uematsu, CFA (1966)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., and T. Rowe Price Trust Company
 
Megan Warren (1968)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services, Inc., T. Rowe Price Services, Inc., and T. Rowe Price Trust Company; formerly, Executive Director, JPMorgan Chase (to 2017)
 
Thomas H. Watson (1977)
Co-president
Director and Vice President, T. Rowe Price Trust Company; Vice President, T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 
Justin P. White (1981)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 
Rouven J. Wool-Lewis, Ph.D. (1973)
Vice President
Vice President, T. Rowe Price and T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
 

Unless otherwise noted, officers have been employees of T. Rowe Price or T. Rowe Price International for at least 5 years.

Item 1. (b) Notice pursuant to Rule 30e-3.

Not applicable.

Item 2. Code of Ethics.

The registrant has adopted a code of ethics, as defined in Item 2 of Form N-CSR, applicable to its principal executive officer, principal financial officer, principal accounting officer or controller, or persons performing similar functions. A copy of this code of ethics is filed as an exhibit to this Form N-CSR. No substantive amendments were approved or waivers were granted to this code of ethics during the period covered by this report.

Item 3. Audit Committee Financial Expert.

The registrant’s Board of Directors/Trustees has determined that Mr. Bruce W. Duncan qualifies as an audit committee financial expert, as defined in Item 3 of Form N-CSR. Mr. Duncan is considered independent for purposes of Item 3 of Form N-CSR.

Item 4. Principal Accountant Fees and Services.

(a) – (d) Aggregate fees billed for the last two fiscal years for professional services rendered to, or on behalf of, the registrant by the registrant’s principal accountant were as follows:


Audit fees include amounts related to the audit of the registrant’s annual financial statements and services normally provided by the accountant in connection with statutory and regulatory filings. Audit-related fees include amounts reasonably related to the performance of the audit of the registrant’s financial statements and specifically include the issuance of a report on internal controls and, if applicable, agreed-upon procedures related to fund acquisitions. Tax fees include amounts related to services for tax compliance, tax planning, and tax advice. The nature of these services specifically includes the review of distribution calculations and the preparation of Federal, state, and excise tax returns. All other fees include the registrant’s pro-rata share of amounts for agreed-upon procedures in conjunction with service contract approvals by the registrant’s Board of Directors/Trustees.

(e)(1) The registrant’s audit committee has adopted a policy whereby audit and non-audit services performed by the registrant’s principal accountant for the registrant, its investment adviser, and any entity controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the investment adviser that provides ongoing services to the registrant require pre-approval in advance at regularly scheduled audit committee meetings. If such a service is required between regularly scheduled audit committee meetings, pre-approval may be authorized by one audit committee member with ratification at the next scheduled audit committee meeting. Waiver of pre-approval for audit or non-audit services requiring fees of a de minimis amount is not permitted.

(2) No services included in (b) – (d) above were approved pursuant to paragraph (c)(7)(i)(C) of Rule 2-01 of Regulation S-X.

(f) Less than 50 percent of the hours expended on the principal accountant’s engagement to audit the registrant’s financial statements for the most recent fiscal year were attributed to work performed by persons other than the principal accountant’s full-time, permanent employees.

(g) The aggregate fees billed for the most recent fiscal year and the preceding fiscal year by the registrant’s principal accountant for non-audit services rendered to the registrant, its investment adviser, and any entity controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the investment adviser that provides ongoing services to the registrant were $3,781,000 and $3,227,000, respectively.

(h) All non-audit services rendered in (g) above were pre-approved by the registrant’s audit committee. Accordingly, these services were considered by the registrant’s audit committee in maintaining the principal accountant’s independence.

Item 5. Audit Committee of Listed Registrants.

Not applicable.

Item 6. Investments.

(a) Not applicable. The complete schedule of investments is included in Item 1 of this Form N-CSR.

(b) Not applicable.

Item 7. Disclosure of Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures for Closed-End Management Investment Companies.

Not applicable.

Item 8. Portfolio Managers of Closed-End Management Investment Companies.

Not applicable.

Item 9. Purchases of Equity Securities by Closed-End Management Investment Company and Affiliated Purchasers.

Not applicable.

Item 10. Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders.

There has been no change to the procedures by which shareholders may recommend nominees to the registrant’s board of directors.

Item 11. Controls and Procedures.

(a) The registrant’s principal executive officer and principal financial officer have evaluated the registrant’s disclosure controls and procedures within 90 days of this filing and have concluded that the registrant’s disclosure controls and procedures were effective, as of that date, in ensuring that information required to be disclosed by the registrant in this Form N-CSR was recorded, processed, summarized, and reported timely.

(b) The registrant’s principal executive officer and principal financial officer are aware of no change in the registrant’s internal control over financial reporting that occurred during the period covered by this report that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, the registrant’s internal control over financial reporting.

Item 12. Disclosure of Securities Lending Activities for Closed-End Management Investment Companies.

Not applicable.

Item 13. Exhibits.

(a)(1) The registrant’s code of ethics pursuant to Item 2 of Form N-CSR is attached.

(2) Separate certifications by the registrant's principal executive officer and principal financial officer, pursuant to Section 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and required by Rule 30a-2(a) under the Investment Company Act of 1940, are attached.

(3) Written solicitation to repurchase securities issued by closed-end companies: not applicable.

(b) A certification by the registrant's principal executive officer and principal financial officer, pursuant to Section 906 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and required by Rule 30a-2(b) under the Investment Company Act of 1940, is attached.

SIGNATURES

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Investment Company Act of 1940, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.

T. Rowe Price U.S. Equity Research Fund, Inc.


By     /s/ David Oestreicher
David Oestreicher
Principal Executive Officer     
 
Date     February 17, 2021

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Investment Company Act of 1940, this report has been signed below by the following persons on behalf of the registrant and in the capacities and on the dates indicated.


By     /s/ David Oestreicher
David Oestreicher
Principal Executive Officer     
 
Date     February 17, 2021
 
 
By/s/ Alan S. Dupski
Alan S. Dupski
Principal Financial Officer
 
DateFebruary 17, 2021