I am retired and take educated guesses on all things financial.

April 17, 2008

April 17, 2008: Yield to the Calamos Convertible Opportunities and Income Fund

The Calamos Convertible Opportunities and Income Fund (CHI) is a CEF that attempts, through a combination of capital appreciation and current income, to provide optimum results investing in a diversified portfolio of convertible securities and below investment grade fixed income securities. According to the Calamos Fund managers (John Calamos and son Jack),"the Fund's enhanced fixed income strategy uses all ranges of credit quality and a variety of debt instruments to achieve its objective. The strategy provides an alternative to investment-grade fixed income instruments. Offering potential capital appreciation while delivering an attractive, stable monthly distribution, the Fund may be suitable for investors who are focused on long-term total return and are looking for dynamic allocation to maintain a consistent risk/reward balance throughout the market cycle."

Lofty goals.CHI has been a disappointment over the past year, declining from a high of $20.49 per share in May 2007 to as low as $12.80 on March 17Th of this year. Granted, the CEF features a dividend of 11.79% and pays it monthly, currently at fourteen cents. CHI has a market cap of approximately $677m and trades about 80,000 shares daily. The lack of insider buying over the past year does not bode well on face value for the short term prospects of CHI.The 1.20% management fee is not unusual for a CEF that is aggressively managed. In spite of the poor performance over the past year, investors taking a longer term view may find both the dividend and the securities selection of interest.

A representative basic sampling of convertible securities/bonds includes Intel Conv. Bond, VeriSign Conv. Bond, Freeport-McMoran Pref.,Schering Plough Pref., Mandalay Resort Group 8.38% Bond, Invitrogen Conv. Bond, Conv. Bond, Bayer Conv. Pref. Stock, Linear Technology Conv. Bond and L-3 Communications Conv. Bond.

The average rating of bonds held by percentage of quality works out to a BBB overall. High Yield, but I do not detect pure junk in their most recent roster.

Recent institutional investors in this CEF include Zaske and Associates, Citi Investment, Claymore Advisors, First Clearing LLC (the largest in dollar holdings for this Fund), Hollencrest Capital Management,Morgan Stanley, National Financial Services, Newgate Capital Management LLC, Charles Schwab and UBS Financial Services. A respectable lineup.

Disappointing, down, but not out, the investor seeking income may want to bottom fish and nibble at CHI, hoping that the Calamos family will pull their research together, roll up their sleeves and get this CEF moving forward,resisting long lunches at The Greek Islands or Papagus Restaurants of Greek renown within range of their headquarters.


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