Profit-Taking Pulls Down Net Sector

Among tech-related companies that reported earnings this week, Microsoft, IBM and Lucent were all falling in trading this afternoon.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Profit-takers have emerged en masse after a number of high-profile earnings reports came out in the technology sector. Losses filtered down to Internet stocks, with Internet Sector index down 17.79, or 2.9%, at 598.97 in recent trading.

Jim Herrick, managing director of trading at

Robert W. Baird

, said the selloff was nothing more than people buying the rumor and selling on the news.

"This market has discounted good earnings, and we've seen good earnings from the companies that have posted earnings the past couple of days," said Herrick. "There's just not a lot of room for upside."

Herrick said the tech sector has been one of the leaders during the latest market push and would naturally be susceptible to profit-taking. And the numbers bear him out. On June 14, the


traded below 2,400, and, Monday, it was trading near 2,900. If anything, a selloff like this was overdue.

Today's selling was triggered by profit-taking in


(MSFT) - Get Report



(IBM) - Get Report




, which all reported earnings since Monday's close. Microsoft was recently down 4 3/4, or 5%, at 93 5/8. IBM was off 5 7/8, or 4%, at 128 3/4, while Lucent was down 5 9/32, or 7%, at 71 11/16.

Net stocks have gone along for the ride. Though down today, Internet Sector index has had a huge run over the past month, going from 495 June 15 to 689 July 6, just before the first big earnings report of the season came from



July 7. Foreshadowing what was to come, Yahoo!

sold off despite besting earnings expectations.

Another Net stock,



, which reported earnings after the close Monday, was off 6 5/16, or 6.7%, at 88 1/2 this afternoon. The company met estimates of a 13-cent loss for its second quarter, but DoubleClick traded at 70 1/2 June 28 before gaining roughly 30 points just ahead of the report.



, which reported earnings Monday, was down 6 1/32, or 6%, at 91 5/8.

Two other Net bellwethers,

(AMZN) - Get Report


America Online


, report earnings Wednesday, but profit-takers were getting a head start. was off 7 3/4, or 6%, at 123 15/16, while AOL was down 4 5/16, or 3.6%, at 114 11/16.