The market thinks it's a bad sign when Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) merely tightens its guidance range, instead of raising its forecasts to high heavens. The midpoints of the original third-quarter forecast called for sales to rise by 6% sequentially, while earnings would improve by 11% over last quarter. That's still what management is saying -- except that the upper and lower bounds of the guidance ranges have tightened up considerably. Now the stock is down for the day, and investors are blaming it for an overall semiconductor-sector swoon.

You'd think this pessimism would be priced into the stock by now, after belt-tightening signals from fellow tech giants Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC). After all, TI is sniffing around its 52-week and five-year lows. Yet somehow, the market found cause to get even more negative.

Does that mean you should back up the truck and load up on TI shares today? The company pays a steady, fully cash-backed, and rising dividend, so buying into weakness could be a good move for the income-minded investor, even if you don't expect much in terms of direct stock returns.

Still, I'm not so sure a big buy-in is a good idea. Over the last five years, TI's stock has fallen by 28%, while the S&P 500 benchmark contained its losses to a more moderate 11%. If you adjust for reinvested dividends along the way, TI still lost 23% of its value over that time frame, while S&P nearly broke even with a 2.2% negative return. In other words, you could find much better dividend plays elsewhere, even when you consider TI's rock-bottom pricing today.

For the dividend-minded investor, a shift away from Texas Instruments, and toward extremely high payers like Annaly Capital (NYSE: NLY), could help juice the level of recurring income. A stagnant economy with corresponding continuing low interest rates would probably leave Texas Instruments stock laying low, but it’d be a boon for a company like Annaly, which makes a killing at such low borrowing rates. And if you're dead set on dividend-paying tech stocks, you'll still do better with growth-impaired telecom operator Frontier Communications (NYSE: FTR), or even Intel.

In other words, you can safely leave TI alone for now, despite a seemingly tempting buy-in opportunity. This price drop may come from the overreaction of a nervous market, but it's nowhere deep enough to make TI a must-buy stock today.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Intel and Lowe's Companies are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. The Fool has written a bull call spread on Cisco Systems. The Fool owns shares of and has written puts on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel. The Fool owns shares of Annaly Capital Management. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days

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