* S&P 500 holds on to small gain for year
* Energy sector worst performer on S&P 500
* Futures down: Dow 48 pts, S&P 5.75 pts, Nasdaq 12.25 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Dec 31 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were set to open lower on Thursday as crude slipped further to end the year in steep losses.
Global stocks were heading towards a sluggish end to the year, with the fall in oil prices hurting currencies of commodity-rich countries. The dollar index rose marginally against a basket of currencies.
Crude oil prices were set for their second year of losses suffering under an unprecedented global glut that may take another year to clear.
Shares of Chevron were off 0.8 percent at $89.37, while Exxon was down 0.4 percent at $77.78 in premarket trading.
Wall Street closed lower on Wednesday but the S&P 500 held on to a small gain for the year and the Nasdaq Composite stayed comfortably higher.
The Dow Jones industrial average was firmly in negative territory for the year.
“You’d expect kind of a dead day (Thursday), but with the way things have gone, who knows?,” said Matthew Tuttle, chief executive, Tuttle Tactical Management in Stamford, Connecticut.
“Trading today is going to be more about oil than anything else,” Tuttle said, adding that volumes were sure to be low.
At 8:36 a.m. ET (1336 GMT), Dow e-minis were down 48 points, or 0.27 percent, with 8,231 contracts changing hands. S&P 500 e-minis were down 5.75 points, or 0.28 percent, with 43,276 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 12.25 points, or 0.26 percent, on volume of 10,131 contracts.
Energy stocks have taken a beating this year, with the S&P energy sector losing nearly 24 percent this year, followed by a near 10 percent loss by materials, hurt by the rout in commodities.
Eight of the 10 worst performers on the S&P this year are energy companies, led by Chesapeake Energy, which shed nearly 78 percent of its value in 2015.
On the other hand, the consumer discretionary sector has been the best performer on the S&P, rising 9.5 percent in 2015, led by Netflix’s 139 percent increase and Amazon’s 122 percent gain.
The top three performers on the Dow are also consumer discretionary stocks, with Nike’s 32 percent rise taking the lead.
Trading volumes are expected to be thin for the day, and data points sparse, with traders closing off positions for 2015.
U.S. jobless claims increased by 20,000 to 287,000 last week, widely missing the 270,000 estimated.
GoPro was down 0.8 percent at $18.25 in premarket trading.
Southwestern Energy was up 2.9 percent at $6.48.
Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian