Late spring heat wave drives up natural gas prices

Cheese

Average block cheese prices jumped almost 20 cents last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, coming in at an average of $1.94. The previous week's average was $1.76.

Prices were $1.87 Tuesday, $1.90 Wednesday, $1.95 Thursday and $2.05 Friday.

Wheat

Wheat prices stayed above $10 last week, the second 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 $10.27 on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, up from $10.22 the previous week.

Wheat closed at $10.25 Tuesday, $10.05 Wednesday, $10.19 Thursday and $10.60 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Monday's nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline was $3.77, down a penny from $3.78 the previous week, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices are also down from $3.97 a month ago, and remain up more than $1 from this time last year, when consumers were paying $2.72 at the pump.

Mid-range unleaded is $3.91, while Monday's premium unleaded price was $4.04.

The nationwide average for diesel fuel is $3.99, a drop from $4.01 last week. Diesel prices are also down from $4.16 a month ago, and remain up from $2.99 a year ago.

Natural Gas

The past week was marked by two distinct trading markets — "before" and "after" the Memorial Day holiday. Cash markets were listless going into the holiday weekend but escalated Tuesday following an early heat wave that drifted into the East. The Henry Hub price advanced 27 cents per million Btu (MMBtu) for the week (6.2 percent) to close at $4.63 per MMBtu on June 1.

Pizza company stocks

Shares in Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. dropped to $54.42 Friday, down from $55.45 the previous week and $56.26 two weeks ago, which was the company's 52-week high. Yum! traded at a 52-week low of $38.53 in July 2010.

Domino's finished last week at $24.24, down from $24.58 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 finished at $32.71 Friday, a notable drop from $34.25 the previous week, which was 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 $38.48 Friday, a decline from $40.71 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 $18.38 Friday, a slight drop from the near $2 bump to $18.44 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 $2.25 Friday, down a nickel from $2.30 the previous Friday. PZZI hit its $2.35 52-week high two weeks ago, and traded as low as $1.77 in May 2010.

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