( Reuters ) - Oil was little changed around $80 a barrel on Tuesday, after falling more than $2.50 in two sessions as traders took profits from near-record highs.
U.S. crude eased 4 cents to $80.20 a barrel by 0238 GMT after dropping $1.42 on Monday. London Brent crude edged 10 cents higher to $77.74 a barrel.
With an anxious eye on a credit crunch in the United States and Europe that is showing signs of slowing economic growth, some oil investors have pulled back lately, halting the sharp rally that pushed oil prices to a record $83.90 on September 20.
That retreat comes despite a key global stock index touching a record high on Tuesday and the U.S. dollar hitting a succession of lifetime lows versus the euro and a basket of currencies, making dollar-denominated commodities cheaper.
Hope that the U.S. Gulf of Mexico may have weathered the worst of this year's hurricane season -- which runs until the end of November -- has also spurred profit-taking, traders said.
"The price outlook is pretty bearish at this point. I expect prices to fall below $80 this week," said Dariusz Kowalczyk, chief investment strategist at CFC Seymour.
"In the long-run, I expect prices to fall below $70 on the modest global economic outlook and the decline in the hurricane premium," he added.
Traders are now awaiting U.S. weekly oil inventory data due out on Wednesday, which is expected to show a decline in crude stocks, but a rise in distillate stocks.