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FILE - In this July 20, 2010 file photo, a Netflix customer looks for a movie on Netflix in Palo Alto, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)

Today: Intel (INTC) hits a 52-week low as technology stocks drop and take Wall Street along for the downhill ride. Also: Earnings season begins, and Silicon Valley's next big initial public offering gets bigger.

Tech stocks plummet, pulling indexes down

Technology stocks took a hit Tuesday as investors grew pessimistic about the sector's chances for solid earnings reports amid analyst downgrades to big-name Silicon Valley companies.

Chipmaker Intel was singled out as a large reason for Tuesday's sell-off in tech stocks, as the Santa Clara company was hit by a wave of analyst downgrades following Monday's report that the company would lay off workers at McAfee. Robert W. Baird analyst Tristan Gerra cut his price target on the stock from $32 to $26 on concerns of lessening demand for laptops, while Bernstein Research analyst Stacy Rasgon