Gas prices inching closer to all-time highs


Average block cheese prices dipped slightly last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, coming in at an average of $1.57, down from $1.64 the previous week.

Prices were $1.57 Monday through Thursday and $1.59 on Friday.

Prices averaged more than $2 earlier in March. They've since dropped below last year's average of $1.63 per pound.


Wheat prices jumped 56 cents last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, coming in at an average of $9.54, up from the previous week's average of $8.98. Prices averaged $8.37 just three weeks ago.

Wheat closed at $9.61 Monday, $9.62 Tuesday, $9.54 Wednesday, $9.40 Thursday and $9.53 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.77, an 11-cent jump from $3.66 last week, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Prices remain up from a month ago, when they were $3.55, and from this time last year, when consumers were paying $2.86 at the pump.

Gas prices continue to inch closer to the all-time high of $4.11 set in the summer of 2008.

Mid-range unleaded currently averages $3.90, while premium unleaded Monday was just above $4.03.

The nationwide average for diesel fuel is $4.07, a jump from $3.98 per gallon last week. Diesel prices also remain up from $3.92 a month ago, and from $3.05 a year ago.

Conflict throughout the Middle East, including Libya, is affecting the oil market. Analysts are also attributing the rise to increased demand in developing countries and the weak U.S. dollar.

Natural Gas

Continuing last week's net decline, the Henry Hub price this week fell 8 cents from $4.25 per million Btu (MMBtu) on March 30, to $4.17 per MMBtu on April 6.

Pizza company stocks

Shares in Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed at $49.58 Friday, an almost $2 drop from the previous week's closing of $51.40. The company hit its all-time 52-week high last month at $52.58. Yum! traded at a 52-week low of $38.53 in July 2010.

Domino's finished last week at $18.05 Friday, a dip from $18.47 the previous week, which was the company's 52-week high. Domino's traded as low as $10.99 in June 2010.

Papa John's stock closed at $30.78 Friday, down from $31.71 the week prior, its 52-week high. The company traded at a 52-week low of $22.78 in July 2010.

Shares in CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed at $36.70 Friday, a decline from $37.41 the previous week. CEC traded at a 52-week high of $41.79 in April 2010, and a 52-week low of $30.84 in August 2010.

California Pizza Kitchen closed at $15.99 Friday, down from $16.57 the previous week. CPKI traded as high as $22.92 in April 2010, and as low as $13.19 in July 2010.

Pizza Inn turned in at $2.14 Friday, a boost from $2.01 the previous Friday. PZZI traded at a 52-week high of $2.20 in April 2010, and a 52-week low of $1.77 in May 2010.

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