Greek-American John Koudounis, the Chief Executive Officer of Chicago-based Calamos Investments, oversees the firm’s day-to-day operations, its fiscal function and its overall performance. His responsibilities include managing operations, leading business and corporate development, and directing strategic growth initiatives.
The CEO spoke to Fox Business’ “Claman Countdown” on Wednesday regarding the opportunities that are now in front of investors as the United States begins to climb out of the recession caused by the pandemic.
All systems will be a go, he believes, as soon as the public perceives that it is safe to travel around again, after nearly a year of limiting travel and leisure activities of nearly every kind.
In an interview with Elizabeth Claman from Claman Countdown, Koudounis touted the travel, entertainment and accommodations sector at the moment, including “casinos, hotels, and leisure… those are all going to do better as soon as we open up this economy,” he stated.
“There is a lot of pent-up demand,” he explained, and that’s what we think is going to do very well at least for the next six months to a year.”
Asked if he had a sense, once the coronavirus vaccination campaigns have gone all over the United States, that the economy will take off, so that it may be better to buy now, rather than in a month or two, Koudounis answered in the affirmative.
“We are going to see a rally, so yes, buying now would be a good opportunity,” he stated, and added that technology-related stocks, including those having to do with the cloud, were recommended by Calamos at present. “We still have a bias towards growth,” he explained.
Back in April of 2020, Koudounis had already noticed an uptick in trading after the shock of the pandemic first hit. Speaking to Nicole Petallides from the TDAmeritrade Network, he stated “We’ve seen what panic trading has done. That’s the most intense kind of trade out there. But the second-most intense is the “relief trade. and We’re starting to see some of it and it will overcome a lot of the damage that’s been done” to the stock market.
“During the entire crisis,” he said at that time, “We’ve been telling clients “do not sell.” You have to stay in it. People who panic and sold — it’s going to take longer to recover. We’ve seen these swings before.
“If you’re not in it, you’re not going to be part of the recovery,” Koudounis warned. As he explained back in April of 2020, Calamos Investments became the largest liquid alternative investment house in the world in the past year. He stated at the time that “Hedged equity can capitalize on both upward and downward moves.”
Koudounis then noted that” Calamos has funds that have successfully navigated through all the ups and downs and crises of the last thirty years.
“One of the strongest sectors,” he maintained, is “technology. It’s the underlying basis of everything we do, from healthcare and finance and everything else. The pharmacological, biotech and medical supply sector will do better than other parts of the health care field,” he projected.
“Do not try to time markets”
In November of 2020, just before the pivotal US elections, Calamos founder John Calamos Sr. had similar advice, urging investors to stay the course.
“Do not try to time these markets,” he said. “There is too much short-term uncertainty, especially because election results may not be immediately known. There is a very real risk of being whipsawed—selling on the downturn and then missing the rally.
Just as important, Calamos said, was to “Stay diversified. It’s important to maintain a well-diversified asset allocation, including areas of the market that may be relatively less followed, such as international equities.”
In addition, he stated, investors should “Favor active, experienced managers who can use volatility to their advantage. In the wake of the pandemic, some companies have been able to adapt more readily, while others face an uphill climb as they adjust to the new normal.
“Active managers can benefit from a selective approach that can adjust to changing situations. Also, for the active manager, the flipside of volatility is opportunity.”
Deep background in global capital markets
Koudounis has 32 years of financial services experience including executive leadership in the global securities business and a deep background in global capital markets. Most recently, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Mizuho Securities USA, Inc. (MSUSA), a subsidiary of Mizuho Financial Group, one of the world’s largest full-service financial institutions.
The Calamos CEO is a public speaker and appears frequently on financial news programs including CNN, Fox Business, CNBC, Bloomberg TV and others. He is a member of the Leadership Council at Concordia and the Bretton Woods Committee, as well as a board member of the National Hellenic Museum, a Patron of Prince’s Trust International, and a founding board member of The Hellenic Initiative.
Koudounis received his B.A. in International Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs and Economics from Brown University.