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  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:  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. 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