“From the Trader’s Desk”: Home is Where the Heart Is? Billions S5E3 “Opportunity Zone”

Times have changed and times are strange
Here I come, but I ain’t the same
Mama, I’m coming home
Mama, I’m Coming Home – Ozzy Osbourne

 

TGIF and welcome to The Trader’s Desk. As has been the pattern the last few weeks, I’ll give a brief explanation of what an Opportunity Zone is, some quick observations, and then focus on Axe and why “stinking” of Yonkers is a double-edged sword for him.

What is an Opportunity Zone? (The WSJ review of Billions gives a really great explanation – I use some of it here)

Opportunity zones are real. The idea is part of the 2017 tax overhaul (however the Treasury Department just finalized rules for them in late 2019). Investors who have significant capital gains can take that money and invest it into an opportunity fund, for which they get a tax break. The fund in turn invests in businesses in designated disadvantaged neighborhoods. There’s no limit on how much you can invest, but you need to keep it invested for at least 10 years to get the tax benefit. That makes it less attractive for hedge funds, which likely won’t want to tie up their capital for that long. Consequently, in the real world, hedge funds have not moved aggressively into opportunity zones. There is also the question of just throwing money at these areas. While building shopping malls, business complexes and some housing is nice, if you don’t address the root of the issues, then in a few years all you have are empty shopping malls and business complexes. Continue reading ““From the Trader’s Desk”: Home is Where the Heart Is? Billions S5E3 “Opportunity Zone””

From the Trader’s Desk: Sins of The Father – Billions S5 E3 “Beg, Bribe, Bully”

Kings will be crowned, and the word goes around
From father to son, to son
“Father to Son” – Queen

Welcome back to the Trader’s Desk. This week Billions seems to have Daddy issues! I’ll get into that, some observations, and then my thoughts on Axe and his audition for the role of modern day Gorden Gekko!

I think it was fitting that this episode opened with the song “Father and Son” (and a big thank you to Damianista and Gingersnap for educating me on the singer and the song, as I had never heard of it!). We all know that Axe and Chuck have some major Daddy issues, and those were on display this week, along with Axe setting some up for his son Gordie. Also, did anyone else notice the plethora of The Godfather references? Now that’s a movie about Daddy issues! And let’s not even start about the state of Wags’ kids because he was an absent father. This episode should have been shown on Father’s Day! Continue reading “From the Trader’s Desk: Sins of The Father – Billions S5 E3 “Beg, Bribe, Bully””

“From The Trader’s Desk”: Prince Takes King? – Billions S5 E2

Obsessed with fantasy, possessed with my schemes
I mixed reality with pseudo-god dreams
The ghost of violence was something I seen
I sold my soul to be the human obscene
Megalomania – Black Sabbath

Happy Friday, and welcome back to the Trader’s Desk.

I’m not going to do a deep dive into the whole episode this week, but start off explaining what went down between Dollar Bill and Winston and what a Sharpe ratio is, some observations, then get into what was my favorite part of the episode – Axe’s fireside chat! The scene may have only been 5 ½ minutes, but it had me and my partner talking for hours. Continue reading ““From The Trader’s Desk”: Prince Takes King? – Billions S5 E2″

“From the Trader’s Desk” – The New Decas – Billions S5 Ep1

Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out
Welcome back, to that same old place that you laughed about
“Welcome Back” – John Sebastian

Welcome back to “From the Trader’s Desk” for Season 5 of Billions!

Before I get into my recap/analysis, let me just say, boy, did I miss these characters from my screen! With everything that is going on in the world right now, having Axe, Wags, Taylor, Wendy, and yes, even Chuck, back and up to their usual shenanigans was like slipping into a comfortable pair of jeans!

Since there was not a lot of fin-speak this week, let’s see where the characters I call the Big Four (Axe, Chuck, Wendy and Taylor) are when we start the new season.

Before I start, I’d like to talk about the school-yard battle between the Axe Cappers and the TMCer’s. There is bad blood between these two camps. One reason is because the ACs see the TMCs as interlopers (and in the case of Taylor and Mafee, traitors). No one likes anyone coming into their “house” infringing on their territory. Continue reading ““From the Trader’s Desk” – The New Decas – Billions S5 Ep1″

“From the Trader’s Desk”:
Bobby Axelrod – a Man and his Music *UPDATED FOR SEASON 5*

**UPDATED FOR SEASON 5**

What metal shirt will Axe reveal in Season 5? I’d love to see (and Gingersnap is with me on this!) an Iron Maiden classic (The Trooper, or Piece of Mind), or Judas Priest. But now we know Axe likes the classic metal bands as well, so it could Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Rush or even Rainbow.

Yes, I wrote those words back in December, before we were teased with the Billions trailer and Season 5’s metal shirt was revealed to be none other than Rainbow.  I’ll go into who they are and why Axe would be a fan later in the post.

In each season of Billions, at least one episode has featured a song and a t-shirt of a metal band that must be Axe’s favorites.  (Gingersnap and I are always trying to predict which band will be featured. We’re holding out Season 6 will finally be the year of Maiden!!) The writers of Billions don’t do anything just to do it, so we know that these choices are there to tell a story, shine light on who the character is, and to set a tone. Continue reading ““From the Trader’s Desk”: Bobby Axelrod – a Man and his Music *UPDATED FOR SEASON 5*”