* Crude oil slumps, but above $50 per barrel
* Priceline shares rally in premarket after results
* Jobless claims awaited, seen falling in latest week
* Dow down 22 pts, S&P down 3.25 pts, Nasdaq up 2.75 pts (Adds Priceline results)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Feb 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday as investors looked ahead to data on the labor market and continued to digest recent comments by Federal Reserve officials.
Fed policymakers expressed concern last month that raising interest rates too soon could pour cold water on the U.S. economic recovery, according to minutes from the Fed’s Jan. 27-28 meeting. Stocks generally have risen with any sign the Fed could raise rates later rather than sooner.
Energy shares looked to be in focus with crude oil down 4 percent at $50.08, as another big weekly build in U.S. crude inventories and possible rise in Saudi output fueled concerns about oversupply. Exxon Mobil fell 1.1 percent to $90.04 in premarket trading while Halliburton Co was off 1.8 percent to $43.60 and ConocoPhillips fell 1.7 percent to $66.60.
The commodity has rebounded 15 percent from a recent bottom hit in late January but is still down more than 50 percent from a June peak.
While the decline in energy prices is expected to spur consumer spending, it has severely hurt oil companies, with many cutting spending plans for 2015 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.
While oil prices have been volatile of late, notching sharp swings in both directions, the broader market has been fairly quiet as investors await clarity on the situation in Greece. Over the past 14 sessions, the S&P 500 has moved an average of 21.06 points from its peak to its trough, down from an average of 31 points on Feb. 2. The CBOE Volatility index has fallen for five of the past six sessions.
Priceline Group Inc jumped 6 percent to $1,190.80 in premarket trading after the online travel agency reported its quarterly results. It also forecast a revenue increase between 4 percent and 11 percent for the first quarter.
In Europe, the German finance ministry rejected a new proposal from Athens for an extension of its bailout program, saying it fell short of the 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.” U.S.-listed shares of the National Bank of Greece rose 7.9 percent to $1.63 before the bell.
Investors await U.S. jobless claims data, which are seen falling to 293,000 from 304,000 in the latest week. The February Philadelphia Fed index will be released after the market opens, and is seen rising to 9.3 from 6.3.
Futures snapshot at 7:50 a.m.:
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 3.25 points, or 0.16 percent, with 124,478 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 2.75 points, or 0.06 percent, in volume of 21,989 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were down 22 points, or 0.12 percent, with 26,464 contracts changing hands. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)