As the Dow Crosses 20,000 Maria Bartiromo Recalls Early Life at the NYSE: ‘A Fair Amount of People Didn’t Want Me There’

By A.J. Katz Comment

The year Maria Bartiromo made history by becoming the first TV news correspondent to report live from the floor of the NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial average closed at 3,754.

Today, she’s on a different network, anchors a 3-hour morning show from a studio in Midtown Manhattan, and the Dow just crossed 20,000. But her outlook is much the same as it was 24 years ago.

“When I started at CNBC in 1993, we were about to embark on an incredible bull market and the age of the internet,” Bartiromo told TVNewser in an interview today. “We were looking ahead towards new innovation and new ways of doing things, and that was the beginning of a new bull market.”

Not long after the DJIA crossed that historic 20,000 mark this morning, we talked with Bartiromo about the future of the NYSE, Pres. Donald Trump and life at Fox.

“On Election Night, I went on Fox News and knowing that the market was down 600 points I said this would be an enormous buying opportunity,” said Bartiromo. “The reason I said breaking 20,000 was possible most recently is because of the economic policies that are expected to come out of the Donald Trump administration.”

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TVNewser: What do you think of his economic plans, and the team that he is putting together right now?

Bartiromo: I think his economic plans are growth plans. The one thing that Donald Trump has been committed to throughout the campaign is a focus on economic growth. We have not seen +3 percent economic growth at all over the last 8 years, and he has made economic growth a priority. I think that what you’re seeing in the markets is an expectation that we are going to see a move in earnings. On Mornings with Maria the other day, I had Anthony Chan on. He’s an analyst at J.P. Morgan. He said on air that he has done analysis to show his clients that Trump’s proposed 15 percent corporate tax rate is equivalent to a +20 percent increase in S&P 500 earnings in 2017. That’s what this market is rallying on, the fact that we’re going to see a move in earnings. And the fact that he has House and Senate Republicans in the majority tells you that it’s a growth plan that’s going to get through. We will see tax reform in 2017. We will see a repeal and replace of Obamacare in 2017, which some say that’s one of the biggest tax cuts of all. We will see deregulation. That’s what’s powering the stock market.

TVNewser: With so much trading being automated these days, do you think the floor of the New York Stock Exchange will be around in 5 years? If not, what will happen with that space?

Bartiromo:  A lot of the trading floors have gone away. I think Jeff (Sprecher), who oversees the New York Stock Exchange, has said that he made a commitment to keep the floor alive, but it’s no secret that much of the business is coming through the machines. Whether or not the New York Stock Exchange chooses to keep the floor alive for other reasons, being marketing, or being a physical space for people to come down and see how things work, that remains to be seen. But I think anyone you ask, it’s no secret that that the majority of business comes through machines.

TVNewser: Take me through those earliest days at the NYSE:

Bartiromo: It was pretty incredible. Back then, we didn’t have TV news in all of the trading desks and the access that you have today. It was a very different scenario. When I first got to the floor there were a fair amount of people who didn’t want me there. First of all, I’m a reporter who is coming into their club. Luckily Dick Grasso (former NYSE CEO) wanted to demystify what was going on down there. It was hard breaking through. It was hard getting questions answered. I had one executive telling me to run along, and that he didn’t want me there. ‘This is not for your little TV show,’ he said to me. I did run along, but then I came back over and over again. I committed to myself that I would study hard, know my stuff, and then they wouldn’t have anything on me. What they ultimately felt was that I was telling their story in a good way, in a way that showed the world what they were doing. Those first couple of days and weeks were really tough because I was doing something that no one had ever done. But over time, I gained respect that I deserved and that my work deserved.

TVNewser:  Are you happy you left CNBC for Fox Business?

Bartiromo: I have been able to grow tremendously in the last 3 years. I spent 20 years at CNBC, and it was a phenomenal 20 years. I love CNBC. I grew up there. But Fox has enabled me to grow in a different way. I have had a front row seat covering this election, which has been extraordinary. I have been able to moderate two major presidential debates. Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel have an incredible bench in terms of business and politics. We really have had the range of knowledge and experience, not only for business, but for politics and for policy. It took a lot of courage for me to walk away from CNBC, where I had built my career, but I couldn’t be happier right now. It was the right decision for me.

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