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 companies in the Washington, Baltimore and Richmond areas were compiled by States News Service from reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission. ALLSTATE FINANCIAL CORP. James D. Gerson, a director of Arlington-based Allstate Financial Corp., purchased 4,900 common shares at $6.75 to $6.88 each Dec. 11 through Dec. 13. Gerson holds 10,100 shares directly and 1,000 shares indirectly. BANCSHARES 2000 INC. Director Robert B. McLean of Bancshares 2000 Inc. of McLean purchased 5,000 common shares at $1.88 each Jan. 4 and now holds 12,500 shares directly. BANK MARYLAND CORP. Hildebert F. Criste, chairman of Bank Maryland Corp. of Towson, purchased 22,000 common shares at $3.38 to $3.50 each Jan. 4 through Jan. 29. Criste owns 174,441 shares directly and 26,030 shares indirectly.CIRCUIT CITY STORES INC. Alan L. Wurtzel, a director of Circuit City Stores Inc. of Richmond, exercised options to purchase 28,766 common shares Jan. 4 at $4.44 to $6.22 each. Wurtzel presently holds 226,266 shares directly. COMPUTERIZED BUYING NETWORK INC. Director Robert B. Arnold of Computerized Buying Network Inc. of Richmond, acquired 2 million common shares Jan. 2 at 1 cent each, and now owns 3 million shares indirectly. DOMINION BANKSHARES CORP. Thomas F. Conn, a vice president of Dominion Bankshares Corp. of Roanoke, sold 1,500 common shares at $6.25 each Jan. 18. Conn owns 100 shares directly and 1,171 shares indirectly. Brenton S. Halsey, a director, purchased 2,000 common shares Jan. 22 at $6 each to bring his direct holdings to 10,932 shares. ETHYL CORP. Floyd D. Gottwald Jr., chairman of Richmond-based Ethyl Corp., gave a 19,920 common-share gift Jan. 3. He now controls 5,680,776 shares directly and 4,915,162 shares indirectly. F&M NATIONAL CORP. Director James L. Bowman of F&M National Corp. of Winchester acquired 8,810 common shares at undisclosed prices Jan. 2. Bowman controls 203,582 shares directly and 251,355 shares indirectly.

Director John S. Scully III acquired 1,572 common shares, at undisclosed prices Jan. 2, and now holds 60,593 shares directly. FASTCOMM COMMUNICATIONS CORP. Robert N. Dennis, president of Reston-based Fastcomm Communications Corp., sold 75,000 common shares at $1.25 to $1.88 each Jan. 4 through Jan. 31. Dennis controls 1,391,656 shares directly. GIANT FOOD INC. Several executives of Giant Food Inc. of Landover have sold class A common shares:

Albert J. Lechert Jr., an officer, sold 10,900 shares Jan. 2 at $28.25 each. Lechert owns 24,982 class A shares directly and 40 class A shares indirectly. Roger D. Olson, an officer, sold 4,680 shares at $29 each Jan. 18. He presently holds 68,432 class A shares directly and 200 class A shares indirectly. David W. Rutstein, a vice president, sold 10,000 shares at $30 each Jan. 21, and now owns 55,024 class A shares directly and 24,000 class A shares indirectly. David B. Sykes, an officer and director, sold 1,000 shares at $29.13 each Jan. 18, dropping his direct class A holdings to 257,360 shares.IMMUCOR INC. Richard J. Still, an officer of Immucor Inc. of Richmond, sold 1,250 common shares at $17 Jan. 30. Still holds 52,250 shares directly and 1,250 shares indirectly. JAMES RIVER CORP. Chairman Brenton S. Halsey of James River Corp. of Richmond exercised options to purchase 18,792 common shares at $6.17 to $6.87 each Jan. 8. He now owns 622,165 shares directly and 58,476 shares indirectly.

James River Corp. SPP, a beneficial owner, disposed of 197,981 common shares for unreported prices Jan. 10 through Jan. 30, and purchased 162,234 common shares at $24 to $26.25 each Jan. 16 through Jan. 31. The plan controls 10,048,131 shares directly.MANOR CARE INC. Weldon R. Humphries, an officer of Manor Care Inc. of Silver Spring, sold 11,000 common shares at $18 each Jan. 31, dropping his direct holdings to 46,793 shares. MARRIOTT CORP. Bjarne T. Berntsen, a vice president of Bethesda-based Marriott Corp., sold 1,500 common shares at $12.75 each Dec. 17 and now owns 87 shares indirectly. MARTIN MARIETTA CORP. Norman R. Augustine, chairman of Bethesda-based Martin Marietta Corp., exercised options to purchase 31,396 shares at $40.75 each and to sell 24,362 shares at $51.88 to $52.75 each Jan. 25 through Jan. 29. Augustine now owns 33,695 shares directly.

Several vice presidents exercised common-stock options: Marcus C. Bennett exercised options to purchase 5,800 shares at $40.75 each and to sell 2,760 shares at $52.75 each Jan. 28 through Jan. 31. He owns 6,483 shares directly. Richard G. Adamson exercised options to purchase 7,877 shares at $40.75 each and to sell 5,495 shares at $52.75 Jan. 25 through Jan. 31. He holds 5,424 shares directly. Peter B. Teets exercised options to purchase 19,867 shares at $39.50 to $43 each and to sell 12,056 shares at $52.75 each Jan. 25 through Jan. 30. Teets currently owns 13,967 shares directly. David C. Dressler exercised options to purchase 6,000 shares at $39.50 each and to sell 4,000 shares at $52.75 each Jan. 31. He owns 6,042 shares directly. NORTH AMERICAN VACCINE INC. Phillip Frost, a director and beneficial owner of North American Vaccine Inc. of Beltsville, purchased 18,800 common shares at $2.63 to $3 each Jan. 19 through Jan. 25. Frost holds 1,618,868 shares indirectly.NOVA PHARMACEUTICAL CORP. William H. Kirby Jr., a director of Baltimore-based Nova Pharmaceutical Corp., sold 2,000 common shares at $3.19 each Jan. 22. He currently owns 17,000 shares directly.

Donald G. Stark, a director, sold 50,000 common shares at $3.53 each Jan. 23, and gave a 21,000 common-share gift Jan. 28. Stark holds 323,900 shares directly. POTOMAC ELECTRIC POWER CO. Director Louis A. Simpson of Washington-based Potomac Electric Power Co. purchased 2,000 common shares at $19.75 to $20.63 each Jan. 3 through Jan. 16 and currently holds 2,000 shares directly. RYMAC MORTGAGE INVESTMENT CORP. Joseph P. Berghold, chairman of Rymac Mortgage Investment Corp. of Germantown, purchased 6,800 common shares at $7.38 each Jan. 29 through Jan. 30. He currently holds 12,800 shares indirectly. ROUSE CO. Philip T. Duffy, vice president of the Rouse Co. of Columbia, sold 5,314 common shares at $14 each Jan. 14, dropping his direct holdings to 1,800 shares. SMITHFIELD FOODS INC. Director George E. Hamilton Jr. of Smithfield Foods Inc. of Smithfield, exercised options for the purchase of 96,000 common shares at $1.50 each Jan. 4. He now holds 96,000 shares directly. USF&G CORP. Director Robert J. Hurst of USF&G Corp. of Baltimore sold 4,400 common shares Jan. 9 at $7.88 each, dropping his direct holdings to 1,000 shares.