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Intel sells debt, shares jump on stock buyback hopes

A woman walks past an Intel logo at the 2012 Computex in Taipei June 5, 2012. REUTERS/Yi-ting Chung
A woman walks past an Intel logo at the 2012 Computex in Taipei June 5, 2012. REUTERS/Yi-ting Chung

By Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Intel Corp shares jumped more than 2 percent on Tuesday as the top chipmaker sold $6 billion in bonds to fund stock buybacks and other business activities.

Intel sold the bonds in a range of maturities from five years to 30 years, according to IFR, a Thomson Reuters unit.

The Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker said in a filing it plans to use proceeds of the debt sale for general corporate purposes and for stock buybacks under its existing share authorization.

"We believe the action should likely prove prudent given low debt borrowing costs," RBC analyst Doug Freedman said of the debt offer in a note to clients. "In our view the raise will likely support increased buybacks."

Intel's stock has dropped 18 percent over the past year as investors worried about slow PC sales and the company's failure to expand into mobile gadgets.

In the September quarter, Intel spent $1.165 billion on stock buybacks, bringing its repurchases so far in 2012 to $3.765 billion.

At the end of that quarter, Intel had another $6.3 billion available for share repurchases under its existing authorization.

Some investors have pointed to Intel's willingness to return cash to investors as a reason to own its stock. It paid $1.1 billion in dividends in the third quarter and its dividend yield stands at about 4.3 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Intel shares rose 2.19 percent on Tuesday to settle at $19.97.

"The cost of money is relatively inexpensive and we have an excellent credit rating. It's sound financial planning," said Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich, editing by Gary Crosse)

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