Business Briefs – February 16, 2016

Russia, Saudis Tentatively Offer To Freeze Oil Output Levels

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Oil powerhouses Russia and Saudi Arabia joined Qatar and Venezuela in pledging Tuesday to cap their crude output if other producers do the same, aiming to halt a slide that has pushed oil prices to their lowest point in more than a decade.

The decision followed an unexpected closed-door meeting involving the four countries in the Qatari capital, Doha, and reflects growing concern among big producers about the effects the slump poses to their domestic economies.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said after the meeting that the four countries would be ready to cap production if others join.

U.S. Homebuilder Sentiment Slips in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. homebuilders are feeling less confident about their sales prospects ahead of the spring home-selling season, though they remain positive overall that the housing market will continue to improve this year.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday slipped to 58 this month, down three points from January. The index had been hovering in the low 60s since June. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good.

Stryker Buying Physio-Control for $1.28 Billion

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Medical technology company Stryker is buying Physio-Control International Inc. for $1.28 billion, which will help expand its product offerings and broaden its global reach.

Privately held Physio-Control develops, makes and markets monitors/defibrillators, automated external defibrillators, CPR-assist devices and data management and support services.

Buffet Firm Releases Details of Annual Meeting Broadcast

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Anyone who wants to watch Warren Buffett dispense advice at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting without making the pilgrimage to Omaha can follow it online for the first time ever.

Last year, more than 40,000 people from around the globe filled an Omaha arena and several overflow rooms for the meeting. The heart of the meeting is when Buffett and his Vice Chairman Charlie Munger spend several hours answering questions.