Commodity Corner: Oil Down $1.25

Crude oil futures continued their slide Thursday, falling $1.25 below the previous day's settlement price.

The price for a barrel of crude settled at $74.40 as the U.S. Dollar gained ground against the Euro. Portugal's recent announcement that it will enact austerity measures is the latest sign of belt-tightening throughout the European Union. Such measures have put a damper on expectations for economic growth throughout the Eurozone. Moreover, Thursday's decline marked the lingering effects of an Energy Department report this week showing record crude oil stockpiles at the Cushing, Okla., trading hub.

Natural gas prices moved in the opposite direction Thursday, settling six cents higher at $4.34 per thousand cubic feet. The amount of natural gas in storage grew less than expected last week, according to the government agency, although the U.S. continues to enjoy an ample supply of cheap natural gas.

The price of a gallon of gasoline held relatively steady on Thursday, settling one cent lower at $2.20.