NEW YORK, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Intel Corp plans to boost its quarterly dividend by 15 percent, sending its shares higher as investors saw the move as a signal that the world's largest chipmaker is on track for healthy growth. The dividend will increase to 18 cents, beginning in the first quarter of 2011. "It's an optimistic statement on their anticipation of strong cash flows," said JMP Securities analyst Alex Gauna. Chief Executive Paul Otellini said in a statement that Intel's confidence in its business gave it the ability to return more cash to shareholders. Last month Otellini told analysts on a conference call that Intel was seeing greater-than-expected early demand for its highly anticipated "Sandy Bridge" chip -- which combines central processing and graphics functions. It also issued an upbeat forecast for the fourth quarter. Intel has paid out about $20 billion in dividends since it started paying them in 1992, the company said. This includes $2.6 billion in dividend payments made so far this year. Its shares rose 39 cents to $21.60 in morning Nasdaq trade as the S&P 500 Index slid 1 percent. (Reporting by Sinead Carew and Jim Finkle; editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Derek Caney) Keywords: INTEL/ (email@example.com + 1 646 2236186) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.
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