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By Miriam Sjoblom, CFA | 09-23-2009 01:22 PM

Calamos: Short-Term Bullish, Long-Term Scared

Calamos co-CIO and founder John Calamos sees valuation opportunity today but says he wouldn't bet that the Fed will be able to prevent severe inflation down the road.

Miriam Sjoblom: Switching gears a little bit, another important part of your investment process is kind of getting a big-picture view of the economy and where it's headed. And in your latest commentary that came out this summer, you said your outlook was to be short-term bullish and long-term scared, which is a reversal of what your mantra has been in the past. Can you explain that a little bit?

John Calamos: Sure. We do think the equity market's valuations are still very compelling in here. That's the short-term bullish. Valuations are attractive in here. We think we're coming back. It looks like the economy is getting better.

We're long-term scared. When we look at inflation out there, we're not convinced, or we don't want to make the bet--maybe that's the way to put it--that the Fed will just be able to maneuver this so exactly right that the markets will not be severely impacted by inflation.

So the short-term bullish is valuations are very compelling in here. We're seeing good valuations. We see growth stocks being undervalued even though they perform very well in here. High-yield has done very well. Convertibles have done very well. International securities have done well. So we see that. That's our short-term bullish.

Long-term scared, this inflation spectrum can severely impact sector allocations, can severely impact bond values in here, and it's going to be very difficult to time that. And so that's where we're concerned.

Sjoblom: OK. What are the implications of your outlook for how you're positioning the funds? But also, what are the implications for investors out there?

Calamos: Well, I think investors need to be aware of that. It has a lot to do with their asset allocation, stocks versus bonds and those type of things. High inflation could be signaling a weaker dollar, [so] maybe [consider] going more global, looking for companies that are more global. We tend to do that in our growth fund, for example. In fact, many of the companies have 40%, 50% of their revenues from outside the United States. We think that's a positive.

Valuations are still very compelling there, even though the fund has done very well this year. So those are the implications. And the way we position the portfolio to help us in these areas, we have an overweight to energy and materials, more commodity-related than we've ever been in the past, to really maybe offset, take advantage of that. Any time there's a problem, there's also an opportunity. It's recognizing the problem and taking advantage of the opportunities.

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