Office Depot Rises After Hours on Earnings Report

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Office Depot

(ODP) - Get Report

was up 5/8 to 31 1/2 in after-hours trading following its fourth-quarter earnings report. The company made 34 cents a share, a penny higher than the 19-analyst

First Call

forecast and above the year-ago 26 cents, with quarter sales of $2.3 billion.

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

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Medstone

(MEDS)

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 18 cents a share, below the single-analyst outlook for 21 cents and above the year-ago 17 cents. The company said it hired

J.P. Morgan

to investigate strategic alternatives relating to its medical device business.

Moore

(MCL)

reported fourth-quarter earnings of 17 cents a share, including a pretax gain from the revision of a prior restructuring provision. The single-analyst outlook called for operating earnings of 4 cents vs. the year-ago 1 cent.

Nicholas Research

(NRES)

warned its second-quarter earnings will fall 10% to 12% below the three-analyst forecast for 29 cents a share. The company, which earned 26 cents in the year-ago quarter, blamed the warning on a drop in revenue from its

Nicholas Commercial IT

business.

In other earnings news:

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

America Online

(AOL)

said

Netscape's

(NSCP)

Marc Andreessen will become its chief technology officer when AOL's acquisition of Netscape completes early this spring.

As expected, the

Federal Communications Commission

approved the $48 billion merger of

AT&T

and

Tele-Communications

(TCOMA)

. The approval allows AT&T to offer high-speed Internet services over TCI's cable facilities without making the network equally available to other Internet service providers.

Offerings and stock actions

Cost Plus

(CPWM)

approved a 3-for-2 stock split.

Lowe's

(LOW) - Get Report

said it will issue $300 million in new shares to finance growth plans.

Miscellany

Mallinckrodt

(MKG)

said it redeemed the rights issued under its agreement dated Feb. 19, 1996, and that shareholders will receive a payment of 5 cents a share.

Saying the cholesterol-lowering product is a food supplement and not a drug, a federal judge reversed a ban by the

Food and Drug Administration

on cholestin. The appeal was brought by

Nu Skin Enterprises

(NUS) - Get Report

, which makes the product.

Valero Energy

(VLO) - Get Report

said, in response to weak refinery margins, it shut down an 85,000-barrel-a-day crude unit at its refinery in Houston, Texas.

Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel

, a unit of

WHX

(WHX)

, said it plans to increase prices for its hot-rolled sheet, cold-rolled sheet and coated sheet steel by $30 per net ton, starting with its April 14 shipments.