Here is a look at some of Friday's top business stories:
PPI makes record drop
WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- The Producer Price Index dropped a marked 1.6 percent in October, the Labor Department said Friday.
This is the largest monthly decline since Uncle Sam began tracking this data in 1947.
Prices for finished goods were down across the board, with the core index (excluding food and energy) falling 0.5 percent. Car prices fell 4.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, with the usual expected new model year jump in prices not occur last month because of dealer discounting.
The overall decline was led down by energy prices, with fell by 7.7 percent, with gasoline prices down 21.2 percent and heating oil down by 20.9 percent.
Year-over-year PPI is down by 0.4 percent, and the index for the first 10 months of down by 0.8 percent.
The index for food prices dropped 0.4 percent, including prices drops in meat, poultry, dairy, fish and vegetable prices. Fruit prices went up.
Capital equipment prices were down by 0.7 percent.
The PPI is a key a key measure of inflation at the wholesale level.
Canada 3000 goes bankrupt
TORONTO, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- More than 50,000 Canadian travelers scrambled to find a new way home Friday after the country's second biggest airline abruptly grounded all flights and shut down operations.
Canada 3000 Airlines offered no reason for the move in its terse statement issued late Thursday night, but analysts were quick to blame the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States for its apparent demise.
The carrier was granted protection from its creditors just hours before the surprise announcement, after telling a court it was losing $700,000 a day in the aftermath of the attacks.
By contrast, it said Sept. 10 was the busiest booking day in its 12-year history.
Stranded passengers wandered airports in London, Florida, Sydney, New Delhi and the Caribbean, trying to figure out how to get home.
Many at Toronto's Pearson International Airport were angry after being told they were on their own and had make other travel arrangements
"When we checked in they said 'I'm sorry, but we're bankrupt,'" said Rosemarie Hardy of Cobourg, Ontario. "There's nothing going out. It's finished."
Some 4,800 employees are left in limbo by the shut down, but many say they are willing to fight for the airline's survival.
Canada 3000 flights attendants are now trying to sever ties with their union so they can help solve the crisis.
Senate Democrats move stimulus plan
WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Senate Democrats Thursday pushed their economic stimulus package through the Senate Finance Committee on a party-line vote.
Republicans unanimously bucked it as a partisan package of sundry spending items, setting the stage for a battle between the two parties on the Senate floor as early as Friday. The Senate product will also later need to be combined with another, very different, stimulus bill drafted by House Republicans.
While partisan bickering punctuated Thursday's committee action, Sen. John Breaux, D-La., dismissed it as political drama before real legislative horse-trading begins.
"I would say that we are in the Kabuki phase of writing this legislation, when we both sort of dance around one another," Breaux said. "Republicans are going to say terrible things about the Democrats' bill and Democrats are going to say terrible things about the Republicans' bill."
For now, both parties decried the breakdown of a bipartisan spirit as Congress races to move a package designed to stimulate the economy nearly a week after new unemployment data showed that 415,000 Americans lost their jobs during October.
"Despite all the window dressing, today's committee product is designed to be partisan," said committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
The Democrats' $67 billion plan includes $14 billion in tax rebates for low-income workers plus another $24 billion to expand health care and unemployment benefits, $27 billion to spur business investment, and more than $5 billion to help New York City recover from the Sept. 11 attacks.
In contrast, Senate Republicans have embraced an $89 billion proposal with $14 billion in cash payments to low income people, $27 billion dedicated to speeding up income tax cuts, and $48 billion in breaks for businesses. House Republicans' plan would, among other things, accelerate tax cuts established in President Bush's massive tax cut passed earlier this year.
Democrats panned the Republicans' proposals as payoffs to rich Americans and big business.
"In fact, it's just a collection of tax breaks that overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest Americans at the expense of everyone else," Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said.
Republicans attacked a raft of seemingly unrelated spending programs in the Democrats' bill, such as a $220 million plan to purchase agricultural commodities like, apples, apricots and asparagus that experienced low prices over the past two years.
Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., called the Democrats' bill a "grab bag of partisan spending proposals."
Toyota picks black-owned ad agency
CHICAGO, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- With sales booming, Toyota Motor Sales USA has selected a black-owned advertising agency for its first national campaign aimed at minorities since a threatened boycott by the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.
Burrell Communications Group, which has a list of Fortune 500 clients including Sears, Coca Cola, McDonald's, Verizon, General Mills, Proctor & Gamble and ExxonMobil, joins Saatchi & Saatchi, Toyota's long-time advertising agency in representing the Japanese automaker.
"The addition of Burrell to our family of advertising agencies gives Toyota an important edge in the race to communicate with an ever-increasingly diverse consumer," said James Press, vice president and chief executive officer of Toyota Motor Sales USA.
In August, Toyota agreed to develop more minority-owned dealerships and hire an African-American advertising firm as part of a 10-year, $7.8 billion program to increase spending with minority-owned suppliers in North America. The agreement averted a potential boycott of Toyota and Lexus vehicles by the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Jackson's Chicago-based civil rights organization because of promotional postcards distributed in bars of a smiling African-American man with the gold silhouette of a Toyota RAV4 sport-utility vehicle inlaid in a front tooth.
Jackson said he and others found the ad stereotypical and personally offensive and demanded Toyota fire Saatchi & Saatchi.
"The only thing missing is the watermelon," said Jackson when he saw the ad in May. He said Toyota could have avoided bad publicity by using minority-owned ad agencies.
Toyota retained the New York-based agency responsible for the postcard but hired Conill Advertising, a Hispanic agency based in Torrance, Calif.
Burrell is the first national black-owned agency ever hired by the Japanese automaker.
"The naming of this agency fulfills an important objective in our recently announced 21st Century Diversity Strategy, as well as represents an important maneuver in our overall approach to marketing and advertising," said Press.