Flooding affects wheat prices


Average block cheese prices were steady at $1.79 last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, matching the previous week's average.

Cheese prices closed at $1.79 Monday through Friday.


Wheat prices jumped more than 50 cents last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, averaging $9.62. Flooded wheat fields in North Dakota, where a majority of the nation's crop is produced, have contributed to the increase.

The previous week's average was $9.08 and two weeks ago, wheat was as low as $8.36.

Wheat closed at $9.48 Monday, $9.41 Tuesday, $9.67 Wednesday, $9.70 Thursday and $9.84 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Tropical storms and the Labor Day holiday contributed to rising gas prices over the weekend. Monday's nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline was $3.66, a 5-cent jump over last week's $3.61 and 10 cents higher than two weeks ago, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices are slightly down from $3.68 a month ago but up from this time last year, when consumers were paying $2.68 at the pump.

Mid-range unleaded is also up to $3.79 from $3.74 the previous week, while Monday's premium unleaded price was $3.92, a 5-cent jump from last week's $3.87.

The nationwide average for diesel fuel is $3.91, a slight climb from $3.88 last week. Although the price of diesel fuel is lower than last month's $3.95, it is much higher than this time last year when it cost $2.95.

Natural Gas

Coming only a few days after last week's earthquake, Hurricane Irene (later downgraded to Tropical Storm Irene) brought with it cooler weather and reduced electric power demand. Irene put downward pressure on prices, but most prices rallied on the last day of the report week. The Henry Hub spot price registered a net decline of 13 cents, falling from $4.10 per million Btu (MMBtu) last Wednesday to $3.97 per MMBtu yesterday.

Pizza company stocks

Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $52.65, a slight drop from $52.77 the previous week. The company hit its 52-week high about a month ago when shares were $56.72. Yum! traded at a 52-week low of $41 in August 2010.

Domino's closed last Friday at $26.86, down from $26.98 the previous week, which was the company's 52-week high. Shares remain substantially higher over this time last year when the company traded at $12.45 in August 2010.

Papa John's closed Friday at $28.72, a penny higher than the previous week and more than $1 from two weeks ago. The company hit its 52-week high earlier this summer at $34.12 and traded at a 52-week low of $23.20 in August 2010.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, fell to $28.96 last week, from $29.50 the previous week, which was the company's 52-week high. CEC hit its 52-week high a month ago at $41.32.

Pizza Inn stocks dipped to $2.95 Friday, down from $3.02 the previous week. Pizza Inn hit its 52-week high earlier this summer when it finished at $3.26. It traded as low as $1.86 in August 2010.

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Photo provided by eutrophication&hypoxia.

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