Women win at investing, too Witness: Maria Bartiromo, co-host of a CNBC business show, says women may be closer to good investment opportunities.

Investing

January 24, 1998|By William Patalon III | William Patalon III,SUN STAFF

When it comes to investing, there's a perception that women aren't as active, and aren't as successful, as their male counterparts.

That perception is wrong. Indeed, it's a myth.

In her role as an observer of the world's capital markets, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo sees and understands that women are a powerful force in investing. Nearly half of all people with assets over $500,000 are women. And at least one study shows that they are more successful investors, more careful and more likely to do their homework -- netting them better returns than men.

"Women own a lot of the money in America," says Bartiromo. "Men may run it, but women are big investors." Bartiromo, who does daily market reports from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, and who is co-host of an edgy nightly business show on CNBC called "Business Center," will make her first visit to Baltimore today as keynote speaker at a Merrill Lynch-sponsored symposium: "Sharp Women, Smart Money." About 800 are expected to attend the three-hour seminar at the Senator Theatre on York Road.

Women make the bulk of the buying decisions in a household and, as a result, may be closer to good investment opportunities than are men. For instance, Bartiromo says, with women doing the grocery shopping, they may have been the first to grasp the popularity of Snapple beverages. Who better than women to benefit from the company's initial public offering, which returned 30 percent the first day and 400 percent in the first year?

Late last year, Bartiromo found herself in the headlines -- even in jTC the New York City tabloids -- because "Business Center" was created to go up against CNN's venerable and gray-haired Lou Dobbs. Many media organizations focused on her glitz -- even dubbing her the "Money Honey" -- seeming to ignore her vast source network, her ability to break news and her tenaciousness on the male-dominated trading floor (she's been known to give a sharp elbow to any trader who cluelessly jostles her during one of her live reports).

But the distracting hubbub has died down, "Business Center" has a new producer and sharper focus, and Bartiromo says she's down to business breaking stories about disappointing earnings developments in the tumultuous Asian markets.

A graduate of New York University, where she majored in journalism and minored in economics, Bartiromo takes care to point out that she's an observer and student of the markets, and not a participant. Still, she's able to offer insights courtesy of her network of sources. Just a few:

U.S. companies remain the best in the world and should continue to compete well in world markets.

Cyclicals look good, save for those with a big business exposure in Asia. Paper companies continue to look strong.

And China, which holds out promise as the world's largest consumer market, looks enticing, since problems there may have bottomed.

In this age, with the Internet, the glut of cable programs, and the proliferation of printed publications focusing on investing, every

investor has the ability to succeed, Bartiromo says. Indeed, she adds, there is no excuse for not doing one's homework, since even individual investors have access to the information needed to make winning decisions about their money.

"The playing field has never been as level as it is now," she says. "Men, women, individuals -- the tools are there for them all."

Pub Date: 1/24/98

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