3Com

(COMS)

announced third-quarter earnings of 24 cents a share, 1 cent ahead of the 24-analyst

First Call

consensus and above the year-ago 4 cents. The computer networking company also approved the repurchase of up to 10 million shares. The stock was up to 24 1/4 from a close of 23 5/8 in after-hours trading.

NATO

Secretary-General

Javier Solana

directed Supreme Commander Gen.

Wesley Clark

to begin military intervention in the Kosovo crisis with air operations against targets in the former Yugoslavia. Worries about the U.S.' involvement in the strikes weighed heavily on the markets

today.

In other postclose news (earnings estimates from First Call; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified):

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Arrow

(ARRO)

reported second-quarter earnings of 47 cents a share, on target with the six-analyst forecast and a penny ahead of the year-ago figure.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

lowered its first-quarter earnings estimate for

Bowater

(BOW)

to 13 cents a share from 29 cents after the company announced a second round of production cuts. The firm also cut its full-year view, to 53 cents from $1.20.

CommScope

(CTV) - Get Report

said it sees first-quarter earnings of 19 cents to 22 cents a share -- above the six-analyst view of 16 cents. The company, which earned 13 cents in the year-ago period, cited a strong domestic coaxial cable market.

FSI

(FSII)

posted a second-quarter loss of 33 cents a share, 18 cents wider than the five-analyst view and deeper than the year-ago loss of 20 cents.

H.B. Fuller

(FULL)

announced first-quarter earnings of 67 cents a share, 14 cents higher than the six-analyst view and above the year-ago 43 cents.

Furon

(FCY)

recorded fourth-quarter earnings of 40 cents a share, topping the three-analyst estimate by 7 cents and moving ahead of the year-ago 32 cents.

Lennar

(LEN) - Get Report

reported first-quarter earnings of 45 cents a share, 3 cents higher than the nine-analyst prediction and above the year-ago 30 cents.

Morrison Health Care

(MHI) - Get Report

posted third-quarter earnings of 27 cents a share, in line with the three-analyst estimate and 6 cents above the year-ago figure.

National Data

(NDC)

reported third-quarter earnings of 52 cents a share, matching the 11-analyst forecast and beating the year-ago 43 cents.

Read-Rite

(RDRT)

said it expects to post a second-quarter loss due to lower sales. The six-analyst estimate called for a profit of 7 cents a share compared with the year-ago loss of $1.29.

Toro

(TTC) - Get Report

said it expects second-quarter earnings to come in 5% to 10% above earlier estimates thanks to strong early-season shipments. The four-analyst outlook calls for quarter earnings of $1.62 a share vs. the year-earlier $1.53.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Paul Allen

-owned, private cable TV company

Charter Communications

agreed to buy

Helicon Cable Communications

, also closely held, for $550 million. Increasing his presence in the cable and Internet worlds of late, the

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

co-founder last week said he would invest up to $750 million for a controlling stake in Web site operator

Go2Net

(GNET)

.

Citigroup's

(C) - Get Report

Citibank

unit agreed to buy

Mellon Bank's

(MEL)

credit card business, which includes a portfolio of $1.9 billion in credit card receivables. Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Flir Systems

(FLIR) - Get Report

said it received approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Act for its planned acquisition of privately held

Inframetrics

.

MTS Systems

(MTSC) - Get Report

agreed to merge with

DSP Technology

(DSPT)

. MTS Systems will exchange 2.08 million shares of stock for all the outstanding shares of DPS Technology and net share equivalents of DPS stock options.

The

Justice Department

conditionally cleared the $61 billion merger of Baby Bells

SBC Communications

(SBC)

and

Ameritech

(AIT) - Get Report

. The agreement calls for the companies to sell off overlapping cellular telephone systems in 17 markets in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. The merger still needs the approval of several states and the

Federal Communications Commission

.

Offerings and stock actions

DSP Group

(DSPG) - Get Report

announced plans to repurchase up to 1 million shares.

Miscellany

Mexico's energy minister said the country plans to cut production of crude oil by 100,000 barrels per day to comply with export cuts ratified by

OPEC

countries today.

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

said it shut down its 30,000-metric-ton-per-year smelter in Suriname because of high relative cost at the plant and low rainfall.