Home starts rise

U.S. builders stepped up home construction in May and applied for permits to build single-family homes at the fastest pace in five years. The overall pace of homes started rose 6.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 914,000, the Commerce Department said.

Consumer prices flat

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U.S. consumer prices rose slightly last month, as higher energy costs partly offset cheaper food. The consumer price index ticked up a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent in May from April, the Labor Department said. Over the past 12 months, prices have risen just 1.4 percent.

Same-sex housing

Same-sex couples are treated less favorably than heterosexual couples when seeking information about rental housing advertised over the Internet, according to a national study from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The study found that gay and lesbian couples were less likely to receive a response to e-mail inquiries about rental properties than straight couples. Federal housing laws do not bar discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Las Vegas Strip arena

Years of talk about building an arena capable of hosting professional sports and big-name concerts yielded an announcement that casino giant MGM Resorts International and entertainment company AEG will build a privately financed 20,000-seat indoor venue on the Las Vegas Strip. Construction on the $350 million arena should start next summer.

Starbucks calories

Starbucks says it will start posting calorie counts on menu boards nationwide next week, ahead of a federal regulation that would require it to do so. Calorie counts on menus are already required in some parts of the country, including New York City.

R.I. casino opening

Rhode Island's bet on expanded gambling starts today as Twin River Casino begins offering blackjack, roulette and craps in a move to get a head start on neighboring Massachusetts. The former slot parlor turned casino in Lincoln will have 65 tables offering Las Vegas-style games.

Vegas giant coaster

A Florida-based thrill ride developer is seeking federal approval for air space to allow a 650-foot-tall roller coaster on the Las Vegas Strip. U.S. Thrill Rides LLC said the ride that would be called the Polercoaster and published reports put the cost at $100 million.

Bernanke to talk

Chairman Ben Bernanke will be pressed at a news conference today to settle the wave of confusion and speculation that's consumed investors since he spoke to Congress last month about the Fed's drive to keep long-term interest rates at record lows. Bernanke also likely will be asked about the widespread assumption that he will leave the Fed when his second term ends in January.

Europe car sales

European car sales had their worst May in 20 years as the region's recession drags on, the European automakers' association said. Passenger car demand for May dropped by 5.9 percent on the same month last year in the 27-country European Union to 1.042 million units, the lowest level for that month since 1993.

Dell buyback proposed

Activist investor Carl Icahn said that Dell Inc. should buy back its own stock instead of selling the company to founder Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake Partners. Icahn said in a letter to Dell shareholders that the company should start a tender offer at $14 per share.

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