* All three indexes lower on the day
* Apple weighs on Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq
* Energy sector worst performer on S&P 500 for year
* Indexes down: Dow 0.44 pct, S&P 0.38 pct, Nasdaq 0.53 pct (Updates to afternoon)
By Noel Randewich
Dec 31 (Reuters) - Wall Street dipped on Thursday, with the S&P 500 moving toward a flat ending to a volatile year marked by record highs as well as a major selloff.
In a reversal of one of 2015’s major trends, oil shares moved higher, with the S&P energy sector up 0.73 percent and alone among gainers.
With crude prices losing a third of their value this year under an unprecedented global glut, the energy sector has tumbled 23 percent, its worst annual performance since the global recession.
The S&P 500 hit a record high in May only to slump 11 percent over eight days in August over fears of a China-led global economic slowdown. The CBOE Volatility index spiked to a seven-year high before the market recovered.
Down 0.38 percent at 2,055.6 on Thursday, the S&P 500 looked set to end the year with a total loss of about 0.2 percent.
“If you went to sleep on December 31, 2014 and woke up today, you’d say what a dull year it’s been, and yet in between we’ve had these wild swings,” said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.
“The lesson is that people should watch the extremes. On those big down days, hold your nose and buy - and don’t be afraid.”
The Dow Jones industrial average was down about 1.7 percent for the year but the Nasdaq Composite was up 6.4 percent.
Eight of the 10 worst performers on the S&P this year are energy companies, led by Chesapeake Energy’s 78 percent decline.
The consumer discretionary sector, on the other hand, has been the best performer on the S&P, rising 9 percent, thanks to Netflix’s 140-percent increase and Amazon’s 121-percent surge.
Consumer stocks also took the top three spots on the Dow, led by Nike’s 31-percent increase in 2015.
At 2:21 pm, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.44 percent at 17,526.42.
The Nasdaq Composite was 0.53 percent lower at 5,039.04.
Six of the 10 major S&P sectors were down, led by a 0.96 percent fall in the technology sector.
“It’s a very uninspiring last trading day to a very soggy year in the markets,” said John Augustine, chief investment officer at Huntington Wealth & Investment Management. “We’re ending 2015 on a very pessimistic note with very low expectations for 2016.”
Apple dropped 2.34 percent and was the biggest drag on all three indexes.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,496 to 1,493. On the Nasdaq, 1,573 issues fell and 1,266 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed one new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 26 new highs and 61 new lows.
Additional reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski