Intel Corp., the world’s biggest computer-chip maker, doubled its quarterly dividend Wednesday and boosted its stock buyback program by $11.4 billion to return cash to shareholders.
The new dividend of 8 cents a share will be paid March 1 to stockholders as of Feb. 7, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel said. The company added 500 million shares to its buyback program.
The dividend increase marked the second time this year Intel had doubled its payout and came after similar moves by other technology companies including National Semiconductor Corp. that are boosting payments to shareholders as sales growth slows.
Intel’s sales grew 8% in the third quarter, compared with an average of 20% over the preceding four quarters.
“It’s encouraging that they are returning a greater portion of their cash balance to shareholders,” said John Park, a Boston-based analyst at Independent Investment. “This kind of thing tends to send a positive message to investors and let them know that the company has their interests in mind.”
Intel shares dropped 22 cents to $22.86 on Nasdaq. They have declined 28% this year, making them the second-worst performers in the Dow Jones industrial average, after Merck & Co.