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By Jason Stipp | 04-07-2010 03:11 PM

Calamos on Commodity Investments Today

Although there are strong themes in energy demand, commodities look a bit pricey, says Calamos CEO and co-CIO John Calamos.

Jason Stipp: One of the things that we've noticed, looking at your portfolios, is that it does seem like they had, at least recently, been positioned for economic recovery. Which means some emphasis on basic materials and energy names. I know that energy had a little bit of a volatile history over the last couple of years. So, at this point, looking at basic materials, looking at energy, do you think that those areas still have some room to run, or are they looking a little bit pricey?

John Calamos: Well, we're a little concerned about the pricey element to the commodity sector. In fact, we've take a little bit off the table, recently, in that. But I still think there's still a strong theme in there, because, as we look around the world in the emerging markets, for example, the growth that we're seeing there, that's going to put pressure on commodity prices.

The other general theme there, too, is that the commodity play is really a bit of a defense against a weak dollar. So there's two elements to the allocation towards commodity, or energies, is really the weak dollar, and also the growth in the emerging markets.

Stipp: Do certain areas look like they have a little bit more potential to continue growth, while other areas may be looking like they're reaching somewhat of a plateau at this point?

Calamos: Well, you know, one of the more difficult things about looking at commodities is the price momentum that that happens to have. Very often, you see prices going up without demand. So what we've tried to focus on is really companies that are producing, rather than just price sensitive to the commodities. In other words, the drillers rather than just the price sensitivity, because the price sensitivity seems to have sort of a life on its own. Flows influence price. Price momentum influences that. And that's more difficult to gauge than companies that are really producing the commodities. So that's been our focus.

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