Services, job data give stocks a boost

NEW YORK -- Reassuring signs on employment and growth in the service industry got the stock market back on an upward trajectory Wednesday.

Major indexes rose moderately after reports showed private-sector hiring and services activity both grew more than expected in July.

The latest batch of earnings were largely better than expected, continuing a trend that has been seen over the past four weeks. Broadcaster CBS, video game maker Electronic Arts, online travel site Priceline.com and Anadarko Petroleum all climbed.

Intel will alter its ways to settle federal suit

SAN FRANCISCO -- Intel agreed Wednesday to change some of its practices to settle a federal antitrust lawsuit alleging a decade of abuse. The changes mandated in the settlement with the Federal Trade Commission represent the deepest penalties yet to the way Intel does business. There was no fine.

The truce allows Intel to extinguish one of its last major antitrust disputes over its behavior in the market for computer chips. Its tussles with regulators have dragged out for years and played out around the world.

As part of the FTC deal, Intel has agreed not to pay computer makers for avoiding rivals' chips or retaliate against them when they do pick competing products -- things Intel has long maintained it wasn't doing anyway.

Entry fees to climb at House of Mouse

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Visitors to Walt Disney World will have to dig deeper into their pockets to get into the theme park resort in Orlando. Disney World is raising the price of a one-day, one-park adult ticket to $82 starting today. The change in ticket price is a 3.8 percent increase from the current $79.

Prices for multiday-ticket packages, which the resort sells in far greater volume than single-day tickets, also are increasing. It will now cost an extra $2, or $54, to get a "park hopper" pass, which allows a buyer of a regular ticket to get into multiple theme parks at Disney World in one day.

Investment losses hurt Allstate's net

NEW YORK -- Property and casualty insurer Allstate Corp. said its net income fell 65 percent in the second quarter as a result of investment losses.

The company said it earned $145 million, or 27 cents per share, in the three months ended June 30. Not including one-time items, the company said it earned 81 cents per share.

By that measure, analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Allstate to post a net income of 69 cents per share on revenue of $6.61 billion.

Cricket cell plans are going national

NEW YORK -- Leap is taking its Cricket prepaid cell service from a regional to a national player through a deal with Sprint Nextel Corp.

San Diego-based Leap Wireless International Inc. has been selling Cricket where it has its own network, in cities including Charleston and Savannah. It also has roaming agreements with other carriers, so subscribers could use their phones outside Leap's network.

In a new strategy announced Tuesday, Leap will now sell phones and service outside its network through big-box retailers. Sprint will provide service where Leap doesn't have it.