Microsoft and IBM Falter Despite Beating the Street

Also, some analysts point to the heat wave as the reason behind higher usage numbers released by Media Metrix.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- The earnings swoon in the Internet sector continued early today.

Despite

besting earnings estimates Monday, both

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

and

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

were experiencing some weakness, which rippled through the Net stocks. In early trading, Microsoft was down 2 5/8, or 2.7%, at 95 3/4, while IBM was off 4 3/8, or 3%, at 130 1/4.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was lately down 9.11, or 1.5%, at 607.65.

Among the losing Net stocks early today was

DoubleClick

(DCLK)

, which met second-quarter estimates with a 13-cent loss after the close Monday. That wasn't good enough for investors, who sent the stock down 5 3/16, or 5.5%, to 89 5/8 in early trading.

Both

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

and

America Online

(AOL)

report earnings Wednesday, but traders aren't waiting to see the numbers before sending the stocks down. In early trading, Amazon was off 4, or 3%, at 127 11/16, while AOL was off 2 1/8, or 2%, at 116 7/8.

While Internet stocks have generally met or exceeded earnings estimates, they haven't blown away estimates this quarter as so many have done in the past, which may be contributing to some of the sector's malaise during the reporting season. The sector also is in the middle of what is traditionally a slow time of year, though usage numbers released Monday by

Media Metrix

were mostly positive.

June data from Media Metrix showed the total number of unique visitors in the U.S. increased 1.2% to 62.7 million users from 61.9 million users in May. Users looked at an average of 470 unique pages in June, up from 455 in May, and the average user spent roughly 7 hours and 49 minutes online in June, up about 15 minutes from May's figure.

Analysts at

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

wrote in a report today that hot weather across much of the country may have had a positive impact on Web traffic and usage in the month as people beat the heat by staying inside. But they still expect advertising and e-commerce revenues will be "somewhat impacted" during the summer months and that many advertisers prepurchased ad inventory in anticipation of a seasonal slowdown.

Among individual sites,

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

overtook Microsoft's sites for the No. 2 position in reach due to the integration of

GeoCities'

numbers. In early trading, Yahoo! was down 2 1/4, or 1.5%, at 147 1/4.

Of the top 10 sites, No. 9 Amazon.com showed a sizable increase with a 19.4% reach in June vs. 17.5% in May. Also, despite widely publicized technical

problems,

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

increased its reach to 13.9% in June compared with 13.3% in May. In early trading, eBay was down 3 15/16, or 3%, at 113 3/4.