Bernadette Bartels Murphy, Pioneering Wall Street Trader, Dies at 86

on Mar27
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Bernadette Bartels Murphy, a rare woman on Wall Street in the 1950s whose work as a trader helped legitimize a once-derided approach to anticipating market trends, making her a respected voice in the financial world and giving her a platform on television, died on March 3 in Nyack, N.Y. She was 86.

Her death was confirmed by her niece Mary Ann Bartels. Ms. Murphy died at her niece’s home.

Ms. Murphy began her career at the investment bank Ladenburg Thalmann & Company as a secretary — one of the few roles then available to women in the financial industry. But over time she became a trader and analyst and found a national audience as a regular panelist on Louis Rukeyser’s long-running “Wall Street Week,” a public television side gig of hers for 25 years.

Toiling as a secretary, Ms. Murphy found that it was the work of the traders on her desk that interested her more. She began studying the movements of stocks and the overall market as a way to anticipate future trends, an approach known as technical analysis.

At the time, that method of anticipating market movements was looked down on by traditionalists, who favored an approach called fundamental analysis: forecasting a shift in a stock price by gleaning the intrinsic value of a company and its shares. They referred, often derisively, to technical analysts as “chartists,” for the graphs and data tables they pored over to make their forecasts.

“My timing was right, my anticipation of what was going to happen to stocks was on the money, so I started getting phone calls from institutions and invitations to lunch,” Ms. Murphy said in the book. “And that’s how my business began to build.”

Credit…via Murphy family

In 1979 she started appearing on “Wall Street Week,” which aired on Friday evenings.

Within the industry, Ms. Murphy was known for her contributions to trade groups and civic organizations. She was, at various times, the president of the Chartered Market Technicians Association, the New York Society of Security Analysts and the Financial Women’s Association. She was a founding member and governor of the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute, a trustee of Pace University and a board member of the American Lung Association of New York City.

“Everyone who belonged to an organization always tried to get Bernadette to join, which she often did, being a social bee,” said Sheila Baird, a founding partner of the investment firm Kimelman & Baird, where Ms. Murphy worked as the chief market analyst for many years.

Bernadette Bartels was born on April 9, 1934, on City Island in the Bronx to Joseph Francis Bartels, a stationary engineer (maintaining industrial machinery and systems), and Julia (Flynn) Bartels, a nurse. She was the youngest of four children. She is survived by her sister, Julia Campbell.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Our Lady of Good Counsel (now part of Pace University) in White Plains, N.Y. She credited her father with urging her to use her education to pursue a career.

“I certainly knew that before I married I was going to accomplish something. That was my driving force,” she told Ms. Herera. “I wanted to be a fulfilled person, confident in myself.”

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