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Zacks.com Announces That Charles Carlson Highlights the


Following Stocks: Popular, Black Hills, Spartan Motors, Sterling Bancorp, and Trizec Properties

Business Editors CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 1, 2004 Charles Carlson says insider buying is a great way to gauge a company's prospects. Read about one stock from this DRIP expert's portfolio that has seen a lot of insider buying of late, and then read about four new direct-purchase plans. Read about Popular (NASDAQ:BPOP), Black Hills (NYSE:BKH), Spartan Motors (NASDAQ:SPAR), Sterling Bancorp (NYSE:STL), and Trizec Properties (NYSE:TRZ). Charles Carlson is editor of the DRIP Investor newsletter. Click here for the full story exclusively on Zacks.com: http://at.zacks.com/?id=84

Here are the highlights from the Featured Expert column:

One useful tool for getting a read on a company's prospects is to look at what corporate insiders -- directors, major shareholders, and executives -- are doing with the company's stock. Tracking insider buying and selling has never been easier given the plethora of Web sites that provide such information.

One Editor's Portfolio holding that has seen its share of insider buying in recent months is Popular (NASDAQ:BPOP). Three different insiders purchased the stock in August. The stock, yielding 2.7%, represents a quality play in the banking sector. Popular's direct-purchase plan permits initial investment with a minimum $100. The firm picks up all fees on the buy side. Also, DRIP participants receive a 5% discount on shares purchased with reinvested dividends.

Round-Up of New Direct Purchase Plans

The last few months have been a busy period for new direct-purchase plans. These are plans that permit any investor to buy the first share and every share directly from the company. The following are reviews of several new direct-purchase plans.

Black Hills (NYSE:BKH) provides electric service to customers in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. The company's dividend of $1.24 per share is well covered by profits that should come in around $1.67 per share in 2004/ The stock ranks as one of the better plays in the utility group.

Spartan Motors (NASDAQ:SPAR) manufactures custom chassis and vehicles for the recreational vehicle, fire truck, ambulance, and emergency-rescue markets. Spartan posted a solid second quarter, with per-share earnings beating estimates by $0.04. Revenue for the quarter was up nearly 42%. Spartan is a rather small company -- market capitalization is less than $150 million. Thus, these shares will likely be on the volatile side. However, Charles Carlson is intrigued by the earnings improvement and stock's resiliency.

Sterling Bancorp (NYSE:STL) is a regional bank with operations in New York, Virginia, and North Carolina. The company has posted double-digit earnings growth for 44 consecutive quarters. Dividends have been paid for 235 consecutive quarters. Sterling is not the cheapest regional bank on the market. However, the company's track record merits a premium valuation in the group, and the yield of nearly 3% enhances the stock's appeal.

Trizec Properties (NYSE:TRZ) is a real estate investment trust that invests primarily in office buildings. At the end of June, the company's occupancy rate was 87.1%, up from 85.9% at the end of March. An improved jobs market would go a long way toward boosting occupancy and lease rates.

Read Charles Carlson's complete commentary, and get specific information on the direct-purchase plans for the above-mentioned companies, by clicking: http://at.zacks.com/?id=85

About Zacks Featured Experts

To be a successful investor you need professional advice. Experts who know what they're talking about and can help you achieve your financial goals in good markets...and especially in bad ones will help you improve your portfolio. That is why Zacks Investment Research has assembled the best investment experts in the business to offer their powerful advisory newsletters to you on all the major investment topics: Stocks, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Options, Futures etc.

Recommendations from Featured Experts Highlighted in FREE Investment Newsletter

The best way to tap into the powerful advice from these experts is through our free weekly e-mail newsletter, "Profit from the Pros". Each week we highlight several Featured Experts in this free e-mail newsletter. Get your free subscription to "Profit from the Pros" at: http://at.zacks.com/?id=86

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 to compile, analyze, and distribute investment research to both institutional and individual investors. The guiding principle behind our work is the belief that investment experts, such as brokerage analysts and investment newsletter writers, have superior knowledge about how to invest successfully. Our goal is to unlock their profitable insights for our customers. And there is no better way to enjoy this investment success, than with a FREE subscription to "Profit from the Pros" weekly e-mail newsletter. For your free newsletter, visit http://at.zacks.com/?id=87

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.

CONTACT: Zacks.com Jason Kissinger, 312-630-9880 x 260 myzacks@zacks.com www.Zacks.com

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