In the chastely modern arena of the San Francisco Stock Exchange, bulls & bears looked up from their trading last week to find 50 eager women giving them the once-over. The first women visitors ever to be permitted on the floor of the exchange, they were the first of ten tourist parties, all anxious to learn how to be good investors.

The tour was part of an investment course for women thought up by Ferdinand C. Smith, resident partner of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Beane, biggest U.S. brokerage house. "Ferd" Smith's office staff pooh-poohed the idea at first, but...

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