Average cheese prices jump

Cheese

Average block cheese prices jumped more than a dime last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, coming in at an average of $1.47. The previous week's average was just below $1.35.

Block cheese prices closed at $1.37 Monday, $1.44 Tuesday, $1.50 Wednesday, $1.51 Thursday and just above $1.52 Friday.

Cheese prices remain down from last year, when they averaged $1.63 per pound.

Wheat

Wheat prices eased a bit from last week, averaging $8.78 on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. Wheat closed at $8.65 both Monday and Tuesday, was above $8.77 Wednesday, reached $8.93 Thursday and closed at $8.90 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

The nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline was $3.09, a slight bump up from $3.08 the previous week, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices also are up from a month ago, when they were $2.98, and from this time last year, when consumers were paying $2.74 at the pump.

Mid-range unleaded currently averages $3.28, while premium unleaded Monday was $3.40.

The nationwide average for diesel fuel stood at $3.37, an increase from $3.33 per gallon last week. Diesel prices also remain up from $3.26 a month ago, and from $2.92 a year ago.

Natural Gas

Wholesale natural gas prices at most market locations east of the Mississippi River moved higher this week as a bitter cold front moved into the eastern half of the country. West of the Mississippi River, a gradual warming trend resulted in lower prices. During the report week (Jan. 5-12), the Henry Hub spot price increased $0.03 to $4.55 per million Btu (MMBtu).

Pizza company stocks

Shares in Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed at $47.84, a notable drop from its $49.52 closing  Jan. 7. Yum! traded at an all-time 52-week high of $52.47 in November 2010, and a 52-week low of $32.49 in February 2010.

Domino’s closed at $17.16; another jump from its previous week’s closing of $16.63 Jan. 7, when DPZ hit its 52-week high. Domino’s traded as low as $7.57 in December 2009.

Papa John's stock closed at $28.71 Jan. 14, up from its $28.14 closing the week before. PZZA traded at a 52-week high of $28.84 in May 2010, and a 52-week low of $21.77 in February 2010.

Shares in CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed at $39.48 Jan. 14, a slight change from its Jan. 7 closing of $38.59. CEC traded at a 52-week high of $41.79 in April 2010, and a 52-week low of $30.84 Aug. 13, 2010.

California Pizza Kitchen stayed even at $16.73 from Jan. 7 to Jan. 14. CPKI traded as high as $22.92 in April 2010, and as low as $13.19 in July 2010.

Pizza Inn closed Jan. 14 at $1.92, down from its $2.12 closing Jan. 7. PZZI traded at a 52-week high of $2.20 in April 2010, and a 52-week low of $1.55 in January 2010.

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