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Direct investing.

Direct stock purchase plans make a splash on the Internet

For years, cost-conscious individual investors who balked at paying brokers' fees to buy stocks have propelled the growth of direct stock purchase plans, called DSPs. This desire to cut out the middleman has also fueled the proliferation of Websites devoted to DSPs and DRIPs, or dividend reinvestment plans.

The sites range from the transaction-related, such as Netstock Direct (www.netstockdireet.com), to the purely informational, such as DRIP Central (www.drip central.com). Others offer access to a number of DSPs and DRIPs, but charge fees to provide this service. They also try to sign up subscribers to other, ancillary products.

Jeff Seely, president and CEO of Bellevue, Washington-based Netstock Direct, boasts that his site is the only one that does not charge investors a fee. The firm currently has 1,600 companies offering their DSPs on the site, but charges a minimum fee to only 250 of those companies which post their enrollment materials on the site. They include such well-known companies as BP Amoco (NYSE: BPA), General Electric (NYSE: GE) and Home Depot (NYSE: HD). However, Seely faults firms that serve only as portals to company DSPs. "On the Web today, to get you to the door of a transaction but not open the door is not what customers expect. It's like going to Amazon.com and not being able to buy the books," he says.

Here's the catch with most DSPs, however: they require a minimum investment of at least $250. Others, like Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU), ask you to plunk down $1,000--an amount beyond the reach of some mom-and-pop investors. Some companies, like IBM (NYSE: IBM), will waive their minimum initial investment if you join their automatic debit plan. IBM's requires $50 a month for 10 months in lieu of a $500 minimum investment.

There are a handful of companies, however, that do offer one-share purchase plans, which allow investors who have never owned stock in a company because of high initial investment requirements to purchase just a single share. One relatively cheap way to buy such stocks is through the National Association of Investors Corp.'s Low-Cost Investment Plan (www.better-investing.org). Kenneth S. Janke, president of the NAIC, a Madison Heights, Michigan, umbrella organization for investment clubs, says the group offers this one-stock purchase option for 155 companies through its Website. If you are a NAIC member, there is a $7 setup fee to enroll, a $10 price fluctuation fee, plus the cost of one share of the company stock you want to buy.

Among the companies in NAIC's low-cost program are AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T), Mobil Corp. (NYSE: MOB) and Wendy's International Inc. (NYSE: WEN).

RELATED ARTICLE: Bypass Your Broker

Want to buy shares of your favorite company directly without paying a broker's fee? So do some other individual investors. The following stocks were the top 10 most sought after no-load stocks by visitors to www.netstockdirect.com as of June 1, 1999.
 Minimum
 Initial Minimum
Company/Ticker Investment Reinvestment

Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) $250 $25

General Electric 250 10
Co. (NYSE: GE)

Home Depot 250 25
Inc. (NYSE: HD)

IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) 500 50

Lucent Technologies 1,000 100
Inc. (NYSE: LU)

Merck & Co. 350 50
Inc. (NYSE: MRK)

Wal-Mart Stores 250 50
Inc. (NYSE: WMT)

Walgreen Co.(NYSE: WAG) 50 50

Walt Disney 1,000 100
Co.(NYSE: DIS)

Warner-Lambert 250 50
Co. (NYSE: WLA)

 Stock
Company/Ticker Price(*) Website

Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) $67.31 www.fanniemae.com

General Electric 102.56 www.ge.com
Co. (NYSE: GE)

Home Depot 55.81 www.homedepot.com
Inc. (NYSE: HD)

IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) 112.00 www.ibm.com

Lucent Technologies 56.00 www.lucent.com
Inc. (NYSE: LU)

Merck & Co. 68.13 www.merck.com
Inc. (NYSE: MRK)

Wal-Mart Stores 43.45 www.wal-mart.com
Inc. (NYSE: WMT)

Walgreen Co.(NYSE: WAG) 23.76 www.walgreens.com

Walt Disney 28.81 www.disney.com
Co.(NYSE: DIS)

Warner-Lambert 61.81 www.warner-lambert.com
Co. (NYSE: WLA)


(*) Closing price as of 6/1/99

Source: Netstock Direct

RELATED ARTICLE: For First-Share Buyers

If you don't have a single share of a company's stock and want to avoid high initial investment fees, first-share purchase plans can help The following are the stocks bought the most by members of the National Association of Investors Corp., a trade group for investment clubs, through its Low-Cost Investment Plans.
 Number of Minimum
Company/Ticker Purchases(*) Reinvestment

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) 11,000 N/A

Wendy's International 7,900 $20
Inc. (NYSE: WEN)

Diebold Inc.(NYSE: DBD) 7,000 10

RPM Inc. (NYSE: RPM) 4,600 26

AFLAC Inc. (NYSE: AFL) 4,300 50

AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) 2,600 100

Emerson Electric 1,900 N/A
Co. (NYSE: EMR)

GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE) 1,800 25

Newell Corp. (NYSE: NWL) 1,600 10

 Stock
Company/Ticker Price(**) Website

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) $50.69 www.intel.com

Wendy's International 27.81 www.wendys.com
Inc. (NYSE: WEN)

Diebold Inc.(NYSE: DBD) 28.25 www.diebold.com

RPM Inc. (NYSE: RPM) 13.69 www.rpminc.com

AFLAC Inc. (NYSE: AFL) 49.19 www.aflac.com

AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) 55.06 www.att.com/ir

Emerson Electric 65.25 www.emersonelectric.com
Co. (NYSE: EMR)

GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE) 63.56 www.gte.com

Newell Corp. (NYSE: NWL) 43.00 www.newellco.com


(*) As of September 30, 1998, end of NAIC fiscal year; excludes stocks with minimum initial investment and other conditions.

(**) As of 6/1/99

Source: NAIC (www.better-investing.org)3
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Title Annotation:includes list of available no-load stocks
Author:Cintron, Ivan
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 1999
Words:938
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