Nike

(NKE) - Get Report

reported third-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share, 6 cents higher than the 14-analyst

First Call

estimate and ahead of the year-ago 25 cents. But the retailer said it's cautious about near-term growth and it posted revenue down 2% from the year-ago period. Nonetheless, the stock inched up to 55 from a close of 54 1/2 in late composite trading.

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

is reconsidering a merger with

Chase

(CMB)

, according to a report in

Forbes

that will be published in the magazine's April 5 issue. The magazine will report it "has seen documents that indicate that the brokerage firm

Merrill Lynch is now reconsidering an offer from Chase Manhattan to merge with that $366 billion bank."

iVillage

(IVIL:Nasdaq), publisher of the women's Web site of the same name, hopes to raise $87.6 million during its 3.65 million-share IPO tomorrow.

Goldman Sachs

priced the offering top range at $24 a share tonight. The expected range was raised to $22 to $24 from an initial $12 to $14 earlier this week.

Inflow into U.S. equity funds for the week ended yesterday totaled $2.54 billion, with most going into large-cap growth funds, according to

AMG Data Services

. Large-cap equity index inflow increased to $333 million, and international funds reported their largest inflow in eight weeks. Among other funds, $1.27 billion flowed into taxable bond funds, $229 million flowed into municipal bond funds and $1.3 billion flowed into money market funds.

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

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Adobe Systems

(ADBE) - Get Report

recorded first-quarter earnings of 60 cents a share, 8 cents above the nine-analyst forecast and ahead of the year-ago 38 cents.

Cambridge Technology Partners

(CATP)

warned it expects to post first-quarter earnings of 12 cents to 14 cents a share due to slower sales. The 23-analyst forecast called for 24 cents vs. the year-ago 20 cents.

Electro Scientific

(ESIO) - Get Report

announced third-quarter earnings of 24 cents a share, topping the nine-analyst prediction by 3 cents but falling below the year-ago 73 cents.

Crediting strong sales and prices,

Georgia-Pacific

(GP)

said its first-quarter profit could exceed $1 a share, almost double the 12-analyst outlook for 43 cents. The company earned 17 cents in the year-ago period.

Pep Boys

(PBY) - Get Report

posted a fourth-quarter loss of 31 cents a share, including a 6-cent charge for costs associated with the selling and closing of 109 stores. The 13-analyst view called for a loss of 8 cents vs. the year-ago loss of 18 cents.

RDO Equipment

(RDO)

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 15 cents a share, matching the three-analyst view but falling below the year-ago 20 cents.

Risk Capital

(RCHI)

said it expects to record first-quarter underwriting losses of about $22 million stemming from reinsurance provided by its

Risk Capital Reinsurance

unit. The company also said Bonnie Baccitto, chief underwriting officer at the unit, left the company.

Scholastic

(SCHL) - Get Report

posted third-quarter earnings of 1 cent a share, in line with the six-analyst estimate and above the year-ago loss of 14 cents.

Blaming lower sales,

SunSource

(SDP) - Get Report

said it sees first-quarter earnings of 15 cents to 17 cents a share, below the five-analyst prediction for a repeat of the year-ago 25 cents.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

CMS Energy

(CMS) - Get Report

said the

Federal Trade Commission

cleared its $2.2 billion acquisition of natural gas pipeline and other assets from

Duke Energy

(DUK) - Get Report

.

VLSI Technology

(VLSI)

said

Philips Electronics'

(PHG) - Get Report

unsolicited offer for the company is "inadequate" and that its board recommended shareholders reject the $17-a-share offer.

Offerings and stock actions

William Blair

priced

Cheap Tickets'

(CTIX:Nasdaq) 3.5 million-share IPO top range at $15 a share. The company is a retail seller of discount tickets for domestic air travel.

Cox Communications

(COX)

set a 2-for-1 stock split.

PLM International

(PLM) - Get Report

cancelled plans to spin off its

American Finance Group

through an IPO, saying it will instead sell the unit.

Miscellany

Kennametal

(KMT) - Get Report

said its CEO and president, Robert McGeehan, will retire July 1. The company expects to name a successor by April 26.

Litton Industries

(LIT) - Get Report

named CEO Michael Brown to the additional post of chairman, replacing John Leonis.

Time Warner

(TWX)

named Ed McCarrick, formerly publisher of

Life

, as publisher of

Time

magazine.

Canada's

Competition Bureau

fined

Ucar

(UCAR)

C$30million for fixing the price of graphite electrodes.