T. Rowe Price, Invesco and Franklin Resources stood out as top performers but Janus and AllianceBernstein ranked poorly in a report on equity fund returns published Friday by financial-services investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

T. Rowe Price continues to demonstrate strong risk-adjusted returns, while the positioning of many Invesco and Franklin funds is positive, according to New York-based KBW’s quarterly report on equity fund performance that examines how three-year risk-adjusted fund returns as of Feb. 28 compare with returns calculated a year ago.

“However, the relative positioning of many funds managed by Janus has deteriorated, while AllianceBernstein equity fund performance remains weak,” KBW concluded in its report, “Equity Performance Bubbles: A Look at Risk-Adjusted Returns.”

In KBW’s view, T. Rowe’s risk-adjusted returns remain generally strong, little changed over the prior year. “The strong historical performance of a wide range of T. Rowe’s equity funds is one of the reasons the company has been enjoying, and we expect will continue to enjoy, comparatively solid inflows over time,” the report said.

The relative performance of Invesco’s equity funds is “generally favorable,” and the company “should have a product line that could benefit from any return to equity fund investing,” while the risk-adjusted performance of many of Franklin’s equity funds “appears to have generally improved, with many Mutual Series funds continuing to screen well.”

As for Janus’ relative weakness, the KBW report includes scattergraphs showing the Perkins Value funds “continue to screen very well, but there has been a noticeable deterioration in several large Janus funds. This suggests that it could become more challenging to turn around flows into those products.”

Alliance equity funds also remain relatively weak, particularly several international-oriented funds, according to KBW. “Improvement in risk-adjusted returns has been relatively modest overall,” the report concluded.

The 41-page report includes scattergraph diagrams for all the asset managers KBW follows along with a summary of KBW North America Equity Research’s findings. The report also provides Lipper rankings on the 10 largest equity funds of each company.

Other companies analyzed in the report include Affiliated Managers, Artio Global, BlackRock, Calamos, Eaton Vance, Federated Investors, Legg Mason, Pzena, SEI and Waddell & Reed.

Read about KBW’s equity fund performance report published last September at AdvisorOne.com.