* Decline in oil prices weigh on energy shares
* Priceline rallies after results, Wal-Mart down
* Jobless claims fall in latest week
* Dow down 0.3 pct, S&P down 0.2 pct, Nasdaq up 0.3 pct (Updates to afternoon trading)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Feb 19 (Reuters) - The Dow and S&P 500 indexes edged lower in afternoon trading on Thursday following further declines in energy shares and a disappointing outlook from Wal-Mart, while the Nasdaq gained.
A drop in shares of Wal-Mart Stores weighed down the Dow after the company cut its sales outlook, citing the impact of a stronger dollar. Shares fell 2.6 percent to $84.08.
On the upside, Priceline Group rallied 8.1 percent to $1,214.34 on its results. The stock was the largest percentage gainer on both the Nasdaq and S&P 500.
The S&P Energy index was down 0.5 percent, among the biggest decliners for S&P sectors. Exxon Mobil fell 1.1 percent to $90.02 as oil prices slid following data that showed another big weekly build in U.S. crude inventories.
The decline in energy prices has eroded the profits of oil companies, with many cutting 2015 spending plans in a bearish sign for economic growth prospects. Late Wednesday, Marathon Oil said it would trim its 2015 capital budget by 20 percent, the second reduction of that magnitude since December. Its shares were flat at $29.02 on Thursday.
“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.
At 1:13 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average fell 51.82 points, or 0.29 percent, to 17,978.03, the S&P 500 lost 3.45 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,096.23 and the Nasdaq Composite added 15.46 points, or 0.32 percent, to 4,921.82.
Investors were cautious as uncertainty continued over the prospects of a debt deal with Greece.
The German finance ministry rejected a new proposal from Athens for an extension of its bailout program, saying it fell short of conditions set out by the country’s euro zone partners. On Wednesday, a Greek government spokesperson said the country aimed to conclude a deal with its euro zone partners “soon.”
The biggest percentage decliner in the S&P 500 was Host Hotels & Resorts, down 7.3 percent at $21.82, after giving a disappointing forecast.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,531 to 1,434, for a 1.07-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,424 issues rose and 1,227 fell for a 1.16-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 60 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 92 new highs and 18 new lows. (Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Bernadette Baum)