Though Intel's (INTC) superb credit rating has allowed it to issue dirt-cheap debt to finance...

|About: Intel Corporation (INTC)|By:, SA News Editor

Though Intel's (INTC) superb credit rating has allowed it to issue dirt-cheap debt to finance buybacks, "leverage works best when a company is growing," cautions Bernstein's Stacy Rasgon. The chip giant's aggressive cash-return strategy has already led net cash to fall below $5B, its lowest level since '95. Now, with weak PC demand pressuring sales, capex about to surge, and a 4.2% dividend soaking up over half of free cash flow, Intel probably has little choice but to either slow its buyback activity or further weaken its net cash balance.