Wednesday: FTC Reportedly OKs Office Depot-Staples Deal

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By Avi Stieglitz
Staff Reporter

It's spring. Forget about the damage being inflicted daily to your IRA plan. Baseball season has begun and the only numbers that should matter after the bell are

Greg Maddux's

amazing hits plus walks ratio.

But for all you junkies who must know about the latest developments in the financial markets, here's the inside scoop.

Reuters

reported that the

Federal Trade Commission

staff has recommended the approval of the merger between

Office Depot

(ODP) - Get Report

and

Staples

(SPLS)

, citing a source familiar with the situation.

Read beneath the lines:

Fidelity Investments

announced that it would be offering "more comprehensive information to its mutual fund shareholders and investment advisors." One of the changes being made is to offer quarterly top 10 holdings of Fidelity funds within 15 days of the quarter's end, a step above the

Securities and Exchange Commission's

requirement that top 10 lists be published twice a year, within 45 days of the previous quarter. But what Fidelity buries at the bottom of the press release is that it will stop publishing monthly top 10 holdings.

"Releasing our top holdings on a quarterly basis will ensure that our investment in research is put to use solely for the benefit of our fund shareholders," the news release says.

While that may be true, only publishing quarterly top 10 holdings sure doesn't seem to offer investors "more comprehensive information" about Fidelity funds.

Elsewhere,

Speedway Motorsports

(TRK) - Get Report

made an offer of $23 cash or one share of its stock for each share of

North Carolina Motor Speedway

. That bid rivals the offer of $14 cash or stock made by

Penske Motorsports

(SPWY)

earlier this week.

A slew of earnings-related news:

  • Diamond Multimedia (DIMD) said that it sees a first-quarter loss of 12 cents to 18 cents per share on revenue of about $112 million. First Call estimates were for a profit of 14 cents per share.
  • Par Technology (PTC) - Get Report reported that it expects a loss of 22 cents to 26 cents per share for the first quarter, well below the 8-cent profit that analysts polled by First Call were projecting.
  • Adding to the bad-news parade, Versant (VSNT) reported that it expects to see first-quarter revenue of $3.5 million, well below expectations.
  • Manugistics (MANU) - Get Report offered some upbeat news for investors, reporting that earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 1997 ended in February were 30 cents per share, compared with 15 cents last year and expectations of 28 cents.
  • Intervoice (INTV) also beat expectations for its fourth quarter of fiscal 1997 with earnings of 20 cents per share compared with First Call estimates of 18 cents. Still, that figure was below the 28 cents that the company reported in the fourth quarter of fiscal 1996.

And on that note, you're banished to your living room to watch

ESPN's

Wednesday night tripleheader.