Insider Transactions is a weekly report of stock transactions involving officers and directors of publicly owned local companies. Stock trading by corporate insiders often is a bellwether of corporate health. Most insiders buy stock or exercise options to make a profit. And insiders may be selling stock for tax reasons, estate planning or cash needs.

The following insider transactions involving local companies were compiled by States News Service from reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

ATLANTIC RESEARCH CORP.

Sequa Corp., a major shareholder of Atlantic Research of Alexandria, purchased 7.27 million Atlantic Research common shares in an open-market transaction on Dec. 22. Sequa now holds 8.99 million common shares directly.

BIOSPHERICS

M. Karen Levin, an officer, director and major shareholder of Rockville-based Biospherics, sold 14,000 common shares on the open market between Dec. 17 and Dec. 22. Levin now owns 1.04 million common shares directly and 1.03 million common shares indirectly.

Chairman Gilbert V. Levin disposed of 2,203 common shares in an open-market transaction on Dec. 22. Levin currently holds 1.03 million common shares directly and 200 common shares indirectly.

DANAHER CORP.

Steven M. Rales, a major shareholder of D.C.-based Danaher, purchased 310,000 common shares on the open market between Dec. 18 and Dec. 21. Rales now owns 8.51 million common shares indirectly.

ETHYL CORP.

Barry B. Abrahamson, a vice president of Richmond-based Ethyl, sold 10,000 common shares in an open-market transaction Dec. 31. Abrahamson now owns 27,000 common shares directly and 7,080 common shares indirectly.

FLOW GENERAL INC.

Grant C. Ehrlich, chairman of McLean-based Flow General, reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission that he purchased 5,000 common shares in open-market transactions Dec. 28. Ehrlich currently owns 8,666 common shares directly and 14,820 common shares indirectly.

Harris W. Seed, a company officer and director, acquired 4,000 common shares in an open-market purchase Dec. 30. Seed now owns 16,980 common shares directly and 3,000 common shares indirectly.

Shareholder William J. Bailey purchased 2,000 common shares in an open-market transaction Dec. 29. Bailey currently holds 4,000 common shares directly and 2,000 common shares indirectly.

Directors George M. Seignious and Willis C. Armstrong reported that they purchased 2,000 and 1,000 common shares, respectively, in open-market transactions Dec. 23. Seignious currently holds 8,000 common shares directly, and Armstrong holds 2,400 common shares directly and 1,000 common shares indirectly.

KAY JEWELERS INC.

Oliver M. Stahel, a director and major shareholder of Alexandria-based Kay Jewelers, purchased 3,000 common shares in an open-market transaction Dec. 2. Stahel now holds 81,408 common shares directly and 798,273 common shares indirectly.

MARRIOTT CORP.

Ronald E. Eastman, a vice president of Bethesda-based Marriott, disposed of 2,250 common shares in an open-market sale June 29. Eastman now holds 8,680 common shares directly.

MANOR CARE INC.

Jack R. Anderson, a director of Silver Spring-based Manor Care, purchased 9,700 common shares on the open market between Dec. 7 and Dec. 8. Anderson currently holds 20,000 common shares directly.

Robert L. Wilkie, a company affiliate, acquired 1,000 common shares in an open-market purchase Dec. 7. Wilkie now owns 18,613 common shares directly and 2,337 common shares indirectly.

USF&G CORP.

Joe I. Kirk, a vice president of Baltimore-based USF&G, disposed of 1,000 common shares in an open-market sale Dec. 23. Kirk now owns 1,422 common shares directly.

VSE CORP.

Marie A. Riebe, a director of Alexandria-based VSE, sold 1,260 common shares in an open-market transaction Oct. 31. Riebe now holds 2,000 common shares directly and 348 common shares indirectly.

Insider Trading is written by Consensus of Insiders Inc., a registered investment adviser in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Insider's computer data bank is maintained by Invest/Nat Inc. in North Miami.

The listed trades were made directly or indirectly by the named officer and were taken from documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York and American stock exchanges.