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

Calamos: Convertibles Can Do Well in This Market

Calamos Convertible manager John Calamos says defensive assets like convertible bonds are well-positioned for a market where volatility is here to stay for a while.

Miriam Sjoblom: I'm Miriam Sjoblom, mutual fund analyst at Morningstar. I'm here today with John Calamos, who is the co-CIO and founder of Calamos Asset Management. He is also the portfolio manager of a number of their funds. That would include Calamos Growth, Calamos Convertible and a kind of a combination, Calamos Growth & Income, a convertible and stock fund.

So thanks for joining us today.

John Calamos: My pleasure to be here.

Sjoblom: Great. Well, your convertible expertise is really what got you started in this business; it stretches back decades. Your Convertible Fund was the first fund you opened, it was in 1985. So I think let's start with convertibles. It's been such an interesting period for convertibles that we're coming out of. 2008's financial crisis was very rough on convertibles.

This year, we're seeing a tremendous snap-back for convertibles so far. I just checked the Merrill Lynch Convertibles Index and it's up more than 40% so far this year. So at the time in 2008, I think your firm opened up your Convertible Fund, which has been closed for a number of years. You put up a commentary saying this represented unprecedented opportunities in your career.

Fast forward to today and given this rally, what is your view on the attractiveness of convertibles today?

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