US STOCKS-Energy leads Wall St lower, Wal-Mart falls on results
(Updates to market open)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK Feb 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Thursday, with energy shares leading the way lower amid a sharp decline in oil prices, while continued uncertainty over the prospects of a debt deal with Greece added to the cautious tone.
Losses were outsized in the Dow after Wal-Mart Stores cut its sales outlook, citing the impact of a stronger dollar. Shares fell 2.7 percent to $83.97.
On the upside, Priceline Group rallied on its results, helping keep the Nasdaq slightly positive.
Crude oil fell 4.7 percent to $49.69 as another big weekly build in U.S. crude inventories and possible rise in Saudi output fueled concerns about oversupply.
The S&P Energy index fell 1.9 percent, by far the biggest decliner among the 10 primary S&P sectors, nine of which were lower on the day. Exxon Mobil fell 1.2 percent to $89.95 while Halliburton Co was off 2.2 percent to $43.43 and ConocoPhillips fell 2.2 percent to $66.25.
"There's still a lot of supply, even though we're looking at a decline in rig counts and expenditures. Right now, the majority view is that oil won't really start to go up until the middle of the year," said Clem Miller, portfolio manager at Wilmington International Funds in Baltimore, Maryland.
The decline in energy prices has severely hurt oil companies, with many cutting 2015 spending plans in a bearish sign for economic growth prospects. Late Wednesday, Marathon Oil said it would cut its 2015 capital budget by 20 percent, the second cut of that magnitude since December, sending shares down 2.8 percent to $28.22. Continuación...