SAN FRANCISCO -- Internet bellwethers have had a shaky time of late, but they were leading Net stocks higher today. Internet Sector

index was up 11.42, or 1.7%, at 675.74 early today.

Among the standouts was

America Online


, which has been beaten up over the past few months over concerns about its ability to compete in the high-speed-access market and about the

move to free access, particularly overseas. But those concerns have been pushed aside for now after a piece in

The New York Times

Sunday. The story indicated that AOL expects to reach $5 billion in sales this year and to double its subscribers from the current 17 million over the next five years. AOL also is expected to offer its services on TV and cellular phones. In early trading, AOL was up 6 3/8, or 6%, at 121 5/8.

And a deal with America Online was helping shares of


early today. The Internet health care network led by the former U.S. surgeon general set a four-year, $89 million strategic alliance with AOL. was up 9 3/8, or 40%, at 33 in early trading.

Much of the focus this week will be on



, which will kick off the earnings season for Net stocks when it reports second-quarter earnings Wednesday. Yahoo! is expected to report earnings of 8 cents a share, according to

First Call

, though the company's habit of beating estimates pushed its whisper number closer to 10 cents. Yahoo! was up 7 3/8, or 4%, at 185 1/2.


(AMZN) - Get Report

was up 4 15/16, or 4%, at 129, benefiting from the improved tone in the Net sector.


(AMTD) - Get Report

was firmer after the online brokerage's shares split 3-for-1. It was up 2 5/8, or 7%, at 38 15/16.