SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) _ Intel Corp. announced a 2-for-1 stock split today, the latest big-name company to divide its shares to make them more affordable to investors.

Intel, the world's largest computer chipmaker with $26.2 billion in sales last year, said the split takes effect April 11.

Investors greeted the news by bidding Intel up $4.44 at $137.19 in early Nasdaq Stock Market trading.

The split would be the 12th since Intel went public 26 years ago. The last split, also 2-for-1, was in June 1997. The company has 1.67 billion shares of stock outstanding.

In a stock split, a company increases the number of shares outstanding without increasing its total market value. A share valued at $100, for example, might be exchanged for two shares valued at $50, or three shares worth $33.33 apiece.

A split is usually interpreted as a sign that a company expects its stock to continue to climb.

Several other high tech companies have announced stock splits this month, including Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., eBay Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

Intel makes about 85 percent of the world's computer processors, and manufactures memory chips plus hardware for computer networks, communications and graphics.