U.S. housing starts reach a four-year high

New-home construction unexpectedly climbed to a four-year high in October, more evidence of a revival in the industry that's helping propel the U.S. economy. Housing starts rose 3.6 percent to a 894,000 annual rate, the fastest since July 2008 and exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg survey, Commerce Department figures showed. The median forecast of 82 economists called for an 840,000 pace. Permits for the construction of single-family homes also advanced to the highest in four years.

Investors approve Glencore deal for Xstrata

Glencore International PLC's $31.5 billion takeover of Xstrata PLC was approved by investors, leaving clearance by regulators in Europe and China as the remaining hurdles for the year's biggest deal. Xstrata shareholders voted for Glencore's all-stock offer while rejecting retention bonuses for about 70 Xstrata managers, the mining company said in a regulatory filing. Xstrata Chairman John Bond, earmarked for the role at the combined company, said he will resign after investors failed to heed his board's recommendation and back the incentive payments.