AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Dell Computer Corp. posted a 47 percent increase in second-quarter profit Tuesday, beating Wall Street expectations with strong sales of computers to small businesses, home users and over the Internet.

Dell, the largest seller of computer directly to customers, said it earned $507 million, or 19 cents per share, in the quarter that ended July 30. That was up from a profit of $346 million, or 12 cents a share in the same period last year.

Revenues rose 42 percent to $6.14 billion from $4.33 billion.

The profit beat the 17 cents per share expected by financial analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial. The results were released after the close of financial markets Tuesday.

Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas, has set a scorching industry pace with its unconventional tactic of selling machines directly to customers and cutting out the retailers and distributors who can drive up prices. It sells a majority of its computers to businesses, governments and other large institutions.

In the last month of the quarter, Dell sold $30 million a day in computers over the Internet, nearly 40 percent of the company's revenue. Results also were buoyed by a 67 increase in sales to small businesses and consumers.

The company's overseas sales also continued to grow. Dell said it now ranks first in PC shipments within the United Kingdom and that revenue in France increased 55 percent.

In the six months ended July 30, Dell said it earned $941 million, or 34 cents a share. That was up from a profit of $650 million, or 23 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose to $11.68 billion from $8.25 billion.

Shares of Dell fell 31 1/4 to $41.12 1/2 in trading on the Nasdaq stock market.