Air Express International


said it would make an announcement before trading begins on Monday. The preannouncement followed a halt in trading on the

Nasdaq Stock Market

around 2:50 p.m. EST.

Earlier this month, Air Express said it was discussing a possible transaction with third parties but had not made a definitive agreement. European industry sources told


at the time that Air Express had agreed to a $1.4 billion takeover from


, a unit of

Deutsche Post

. A link-up of Danzas and Air Express would create the largest cargo forwarder in Europe. Meanwhile, Deutsche Post has also announced it will hold a news conference on Monday, at Frankfurt airport, saying the topic would be disclosed over the weekend.

After-Hours Trading



led trading on


ECN on mild volume and has not traded a single share in the last three hours of trading. Exchanges are usually a little thin on Friday evening and tonight was no exception.



, which popped in the last half hour of the day session on news of its mysterious venture with


(IBM) - Get Report

and two other companies, traded lightly, providing evidence of the thinness.

Island ECN, owned by Datek Online, offers trading, mainly in Nasdaq-listed stocks, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.


explains how the rules change when the sun goes down in Investing Basics: Night Owl, a section devoted to after-hours trading.


Eric Gillin

In other postclose news (earnings estimates from

First Call/Thomson Financial

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

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Applied Graphics


reported third-quarter operating earnings of 1 cent a share, well below the three-analyst expectation of 17 cents a share.

Berkshire Hathaway

(BRK.A) - Get Report

reported third-quarter operating earnings of $103 a share, down 41% from $212 a year earlier. Operating earnings exclude investment gains. Berkshire reported net income of $420 million, or $276 a share, compared with $365 million, or $293 a share, in the year-ago period.


(GT) - Get Report

said it was revising its third-quarter net income to 69 cents a share from the previously reported 61 cents. Goodyear said the revision was related to assets in its European joint venture with

Sumitomo Rubber Industries


Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures


(MSFT) - Get Report



, a broadband Internet service provider in Taiwan, said the companies have agreed to jointly provide broadband Internet services within Taiwan. The alliance will lead to the creation of a co-branded portal as well as a shopping channel. In addition, Microsoft will make an investment in GigaMedia to help speed the rollout of a broadband version of the MSN portal. Though terms were not released, Taiwanese media reports have said Microsoft was considering investing $31.5 million in GigaMedia,






said it would close its 194-elf ... er, -employee bakery in Lake Bluff, Ill., citing excess capacity within its manufacturing network. It appears the

elves were thwarted by none other than

Girl Scouts

, as costs associated with the closure were recognized after Keebler acquired

President Baking

in September 1998. The Lake Bluff factory was one that belonged to President, a leading supplier of Girl Scout cookies. Keebler said the closing, expected in late January, will save $4.2 million on annualized basis. That's a lot of

fudge stripes.