Stocks jump on hopes for progress in Greece

NEW YORK -- A promise by European leaders to help Greece avoid default sent stocks sharply higher Wednesday, the third day of gains in a row.

The leaders of Greece, France and Germany agreed in a teleconference that Greece was an "integral" part of the 17-country bloc that uses the euro. Greece also said it would stick to agreements to trim its debts, a condition for getting more financial help. The statements were intended to calm fears that Greece was headed for a default on its debt or might be forced to drop the euro.

The threat of a Greek default and the damage it could wreak on financial markets has had investors on edge in the past two weeks.

Sirius XM adding $1.54 to basic service bills

NEW YORK -- Satellite radio company Sirius XM is raising the price of its basic package for the first time on Jan. 1.

The price of basic service will go from $12.95 to $14.49 a month, Sirius said Wednesday. It hasn't raised that price since the service launched in 2002.

Sirius said earlier this year that it would raise prices for basic service, but it didn't say by how much. To get approval for its 2008 merger with XM Satellite Radio, it agreed not to raise prices for three years.

Sirius had 21 million subscribers among all its services at the end of June.

Avis Budget drops offer to acquire Dollar Thrifty

NEW YORK -- Avis Budget Group said Wednesday that it's dropping its bid to buy rival Dollar Thrifty, citing market conditions.

The rental-car company said in a filing that while it's made significant progress toward getting antitrust approval for a deal, and believes it could get a deal approved, buying Dollar Thrifty isn't in its best interest anymore.

Avis' decision leaves Hertz Global Holdings as Dollar Thrifty's lone suitor, following a tug of war between Hertz and Avis that has dragged on for more than a year. Dollar Thrifty has advised shareholders not to accept Hertz' latest offer.

UPS rolls out service to avoid missed deliveries

NEW YORK -- Sorry we missed you? UPS is unveiling a notification service aimed at not missing you at all.

Called My Choice, the basic free membership service allows package recipients to be notified of incoming shipments and provided an approximate arrival time the night before delivery. Delivery alerts will be offered through email, text or phone calls. For packages that require signatures, members can electronically sign for packages on their computers or mobile phones.

For $5 per package, members can choose to re-route the package to another address or a UPS Store. A premium version of the service also is available. The service starts Oct. 3, in time for the peak holiday shipping season.

Toys R Us to have fewer pop-up seasonal stores

NEW YORK -- Toys R Us is scaling back on holiday pop-up stores this year and betting that offering more exclusive toys -- like Air Swimmers Extreme, a helium-filled radio- controlled shark that floats through the air -- will help attract shoppers during the holiday season.

CEO Jerry Storch said Wednesday that the retail company hasn't yet determined how many pop-up stores it will open this year. But it will open fewer than the 600 it had in 2010 and more than the 90 it had in 2009.

It still plans to hire about the same amount of seasonal workers as in 2010, about 45,000.