Agile, Firepod Report Earnings; Congress Passes China Accord

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The

House of Representatives

passed a measure extending permanent trade benefits to China, by a vote of 237 to 197. The legislation now goes to the

Senate

, where approval is almost assured by next month.

Big businesses supported the legislation, which would eliminate yearly reviews of Bejing's trade status and would assure low tariffs on Chinese goods being imported to the U.S. markets. In return, China would give U.S. businesses access to its markets. The bill's approval was a victory for

President Clinton

but a defeat for labor unions, who offered stiff opposition to the bill.

In other postclose news (earnings estimates from

First Call/Thomson Financial

; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified):

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

BellSouth

(BLS)

and Colombian-based

Valores Bavaria

announced that BellSouth will acquire a 33.8% stake in

Celumovil

, a leading wireless communications provider with approximately 466,000 subscribers in Eastern and Atlantic regions of Colombia. BellSouth will operate Celumovil and partner with Valores Bavaria, the largest shareholder of Celumovil.

Specialty materials maker

Dexter

(DEX) - Get Report

said it was disappointed with

International Specialty's

(ISP)

reduced offer, saying that it reflects a "pattern of unreliability."

Yesterday, ISP scaled its offer for Dexter back to its initial bid of $45 a share. The move is the latest development in the takeover effort, which began last December, when ISP, which already holds a 10% stake in Dexter, launched its first bid. ISP, which upped its bid to $52 a share, said it was reinstating its first offer, even after Dexter said last week that it was ready to negotiate a possible merger.

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Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Agile Software

(AGIL)

posted a fourth-quarter loss of 2 cents, narrower than both the eight-analyst estimate of a 6 cent loss and the year-ago nine-cent loss.

Firepond

(FIRE)

, an e-business sales solutions provider reported a second-quarter loss of 5 cents a share, excluding stock-based compensation. The three-analyst estimate expected the company to post a 17-cent loss. The quarter's loss is narrower than the year-ago 23-cent loss.

GetThere.com

(GTHR)

reported a first-quarter loss of 18 cents a share, narrower than the four-analyst estimate of a 28-cent loss and roughly in line with the year-ago 19-cent loss.

J.D. Edwards

(JDEC)

posted second-quarter earnings of 2 cents a share, topping both the eight-analyst estimate of an 11-cent loss and the year-ago 8-cent loss.

JLG Industries

(JLG)

, posted third-quarter earnings of 40 cents a share, topping the eight-analyst estimate of 34 cents and up from the year-ago 39-cent profit.

Pall

(PLL) - Get Report

reported third-quarter earnings of 34 cents a share, in line with the analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 28-cent profit. The filtration systems maker forecasted a 30%-35% increase in EPS for the year.

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Offerings and stock actions

Impresse

(IMPC)

, a B2B e-commerce print company, said it would ask the

Securities and Exchange Commission

to withdraw its 3.5 million-share IPO. Impresse blamed the cancellation on the recent volatile market conditions.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

,

Merrill Lynch

and

Deutsche Banc Alex Brown

are serving as the deal's lead underwriters.

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

priced a 4 million-share IPO for

Stanford Microdevices

(SMDI)

at $12 a share, the low end of the $12-$14 range.

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Miscellany

The Association of Flight Attendants

announced that it sees "tremendous potential" in

UAL's

(UAL) - Get Report

proposed $4.3 billion purchase of

US Airways

(U) - Get Report

but that UAL's United Airlines must be more forthcoming on the deal to win union support.

Vanguard Airlines

(VNGD)

tapped Jeff Potter as its new president and CEO. Potter replaces Robert Spane, who will remain the company's chairman.

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As originally published, this story contained errors. Please see

Corrections and Clarifications.