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Intel stock hits another 52-week low, then rallies

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Intel Corp.'s slumping stock touched a 52-week low for the third straight day before it started to attract investors looking for potential bargains.

The computer chip maker's shares sank as low as $20.80 in Friday's early trading before bouncing back. The stock had gained 18 cents to $21.01 in midday trading, still leaving the price 13 percent below from where it started the year.

Intel has fallen out of favor on Wall Street, primarily because of decline in personal computer sales as more people become enamored with smartphones and tablet computers such as Apple Inc.'s iPad to surf the Web. The trend has been bad news for Intel because its microprocessors are used in most PCs, but most mobile devices depend on other chips that consume less power.

To make matters worse for Intel, its chips may be dropped from Apple's line of Mac PCs within the next few years, according to media reports earlier this week. Apple started using Intel's processors in its Macs seven years ago.

Even as the PC market has struggled, Intel remains highly profitable and in a strong enough financial position to be able to pay a quarterly dividend of 22.5 cents per share. That translates into an annual dividend yield of about 4.3 percent, an enticing return for investors who don't believe Intel's stock price will fall much lower.

Intel has designed a new type of chip for mobile devices in an attempt to become a bigger player in that market. The company, which is based in Santa Clara, Calif., also is counting on a revival in the PC market as Microsoft Corp.'s recently released overhaul of Windows spawns more devices that can work both as traditional laptops and touch-based tablets. Most of those hybrid machines are relying on Intel's chips.

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