Russian export ban, weather hit wheat prices


Average block cheese prices inched up last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, coming in at an average of $1.76. The previous week's average was $1.66.

Prices were $1.71 Monday, $1.74 Tuesday, $1.78 Wednesday and Thursday and $1.81 Friday. Prices are a bit higher than last year's average of $1.63 per pound.


Wheat prices averaged above $10 last week for the first time since mid-February. Wheat is up 72 percent from last year because of a continued Russian ban on exports and poor weather conditions in the U.S. and Europe.

The week's average was $10.22 on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, up from $9.69 the previous week.

Wheat closed at $10.01 Monday, $9.88 Tuesday, $10.20 Wednesday, $10.45 Thursday and $10.56 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Monday's nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline was $3.78, another drop from the previous week's average, which was $3.84, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices were down slightly from a month ago, when they were $3.93, but remain up significantly from this time last year, when consumers were paying $2.73 at the pump.

Mid-range unleaded is $3.92, while Monday's premium unleaded price was $4.05.

The nationwide average for diesel fuel is $4.01, down from $4.05 last week. Diesel prices are down from $4.15 a month ago, but remain up from $3.00 a year ago.

Natural Gas

Warmer weather moved into major population centers this report week, increasing demand at electric power plants in order to meet air-conditioning needs. Prices moved higher at most trading locations in the lower 48 States, with the biggest increases occurring in the Southeast. During the report week, the Henry Hub spot price increased $0.21 to $4.36 per million Btu (MMBtu).

Pizza company stocks

Shares in Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed at $55.45 Friday, down from $56.26 the previous week, the company's 52-week high of $54.98. Yum! traded at a 52-week low of $38.53 in July 2010.

Domino's finished last week at $24.58, up from $24.52 the previous week and the company's 52-week high. Domino's traded as low as $10.99 in June 2010.

Papa John's finished at $34.25 Friday, an increase from $33.74 the previous week and the company's 52-week high. Papa John's 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 $40.71 Friday, a jump from $40.39 the previous Friday. CEC traded as high as $40.90 in December 2010 and as low as $30.44 in August 2010.

California Pizza Kitchen closed at $18.44 Friday, a huge bump from $16.87 the previous week following news of its sale to Golden Gate Capital. CPKI traded as high as $20.79 in May 2010 and as low as $13.19 in July 2010.

Pizza Inn turned in at $2.30 Friday, a slight drop from $2.35 the previous week which was the company's 52-week high. PZZI hit its 52-week low of $1.77 in May 2010.

Photo provided by jayneandd.

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