The Opportunities That Arise When Markets Move Fast

I am in the camp that gets excited about volatile times. Increased volatility creates additional opportunities. Also, since we are on the hedged side of the business, we are in a unique spot to be able to capitalize off market swings.

Market movement creates opportunities for us to adjust our hedges, but also to alter or exit many of our trades and enter into new trades that didn’t exist previously. And, as volatility increases we find that asset class correlations break down.

In ordinary uneventful times there is high correlation among securities of the same or similar issuers across asset classes. While equities, convertibles, high yield and options are traded by largely different players and desks, and ultimately held by different end investors, they are highly correlated. Convert guys know what price the high yield bonds trade at and at what volatility the options trade. Those desks in turn should be focused on convert and equity valuations.

Normally, markets are fairly efficient and quick to adjust when other asset classes move. When volatility increases, though, markets move fast and each player has a tendency to focus more on their market and less on the other markets.

We can take advantage of these dislocations to create arbitrage situations or to adjust positions. Additionally, we can take them as a warning sign that other markets are pricing in risks that our market hasn’t yet.

The first thing I do when markets are moving fast is make sure we are positioned well and prepared. After that, I look for opportunity:

  • How can I take advantage of this move to adjust our trades and hedges (i.e., lock in profits on shorts or puts, buy back calls we have sold, etc.)?
  • Are single name option volatilities spiking and can I take advantage of this to create an arbitrage vs. our convertible positions?
    • The listed option market moves faster and has larger moves than converts.
    • We can use listed options opportunistically.
      • Hedge—forward trade our gamma (sell puts or calls instead of covering or shorting stock—see page 32).
      • Lock in value or create arbitrage—we are long volatility through our converts and can sell in listed market to create arbitrage.
  • Which names will benefit or suffer from this move and has the market adjusted them yet? (A deep-in-the-money name which now will become balanced, for example, or a balanced name where the credit is deteriorating.)
  • Formulate a game plan for the next move—after an equity sell-off we look at what will we do and which names/trades will benefit if we continue lower or if we snap back.
    • If market continues lower
      • Which names/trades benefit from the next leg down
      • What opportunities might the next leg present (volatility arbitrage, hedge adjustments, etc.)
    • If we snap back
      • Which names didn’t recover (but should have?)
      • Which opportunities do I get a second chance to add that I realize I missed before?
      • Did our portfolios/securities perform as we expected and if not should we adjust?

For more information, see:

The Latest About Market Volatility

  • Our latest chartbook offers some perspective for those concerned about the confluence of factors (e.g. inflation, rates, recession) that have challenged investor resolve. Our message is unchanged: stay on course—history shows that the best strategy is to stay invested.

  • Our latest chartbook offers some perspective for dealing with the uncertainty of one of the worst years for investors in recent history. Our message is unchanged: stocks gain in most (not all) years, and history shows that the best strategy is to stay invested.

  • As inspired by the chronic overreactor Frank Costanza of Seinfeld fame, our latest chartbook offers some perspective for those concerned about the confluence of factors (e.g., inflation, rates, recession) that have challenged investor resolve this year. Our message is unchanged: history shows that the best strategy is to stay invested.

  • In Calamos Market Neutral Income Fund's 31 years, all but three have ended with positive returns. Intra-year drawdowns, however, have occurred every year. In fact, there have been six years—19% of the time—when the drawdown exceeded 5% and the year finished positive.

  • It’s possible to keep moving forward in this market—four brutal months for equities this year, and Calamos Phineus Long/Short Fund (CPLIX) ended each one with a positive return.

  • The structural benefits of convertible securities helped convertible funds outperform both the S&P 500 and the Bloomberg US Aggregate Bond Index in the high inflationary period between 1979 and 1981.

More Blog Posts

Return to the Volatility Guide


Opinions and estimates offered constitute our judgment and are subject to change without notice, as are statements of financial market trends, which are based on current market conditions. We believe the information provided here is reliable, but do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. The views and strategies described may not be suitable for all investors. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, accounting, legal or tax advice. References to future returns are not promises or even estimates of actual returns a client portfolio may achieve. Any forecasts contained herein are for illustrative purposes only and are not to be relied upon as advice or interpreted as a recommendation.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication and are subject to change due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. Information contained herein is for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.

Important Risk Information. An investment in the Fund(s) is subject to risks, and you could lose money on your investment in the Fund(s).There can be no assurance that the Fund(s) will achieve its investment objective. Investment in the Fund(s) is not a deposit in a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or any other government agency. The risks associated with an investment in the Fund(s) can increase during times of significant market volatility. More detailed information regarding these risks can be found in the Fund’s prospectus.

Some of the risks associated with investing in alternatives may include hedging risk, derivative risk, short sale risk, interest rate risk, credit risk, liquidity risk, non-U.S. government obligation risk and portfolio selection risk. Alternative investments may not be suitable for all investors.

The principal risks of investing in the Fund(s) include:

Convertible Fund: convertible securities risk, synthetic convertible instruments risk, foreign securities risk, equity securities risk, interest rate risk, credit risk, high yield risk and portfolio selection risk.

Market Neutral Income Fund: convertible securities risk, synthetic convertible instruments risk, convertible hedging risk, covered call writing risk, options risk, short sale risk, interest rate risk, credit risk, high yield risk, liquidity risk and portfolio selection risk.

Hedged Equity Income Fund: covered call writing, options, equity securities, correlation, mid-sized company, short sale, interest rate, credit, liquidity, portfolio selection, portfolio turnover, foreign securities, American depository receipts, and REITS.

As a result of political or economic instability in foreign countries, there can be special risks associated with investing in foreign securities, including fluctuations in currency exchange rates, increased price volatility and difficulty obtaining information. In addition, emerging markets may present additional risk due to potential for greater economic and political instability in less developed countries.

Before investing carefully consider the fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. Please see the prospectus and summary prospectus containing this and other information which can be obtained by calling 1-866-363-9219. Read it carefully before investing.


David O’Donohue

David O’Donohue
Senior Vice President, Co-Portfolio Manager