Stocks on the rise for pizza chains

Cheese

Average block cheese prices dropped a penny to $1.78 last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, down from $1.79, which has been the average for three weeks.

Cheese prices closed at $1.78 Monday through Thursday and dropped to $1.77 Friday.

Wheat

Wheat prices dropped all the way down to $9.04 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, from $9.57 the previous week. Prices fell once it became clear the crops avoided damage from chillier weather in the northern Midwest.

Wheat closed at $9.39 Monday, $9.26 Tuesday, $9.29 Wednesday, $8.71 Thursday and $8.56 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.58, down 6 cents from $3.64 a week ago, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices are also down from $3.57 a month ago, but remain up from this time last year, when consumers were paying $2.73 at the pump.

Mid-range unleaded dropped to $3.72 from $3.78 the previous week, while today's premium unleaded price is $3.89, down slightly from $3.91 last week.

The nationwide average for diesel fuel is $3.89, from $3.91 last week. Although the price of diesel fuel is close to last month's $3.88, it is nearly a dollar more than this time last year when it cost $2.97.

Natural Gas

A touch of autumn in the air combined with hopes for the eventual return of winter was likely the catalyst enabling natural gas prices to recapture the $4 mark this week despite an environment of negative consumption fundamentals and continued strong production. At the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the October 2011 natural gas contract advanced 9.9 cents per million Btu (MMBtu) to close at $4.039 per MMBtu over the week.

Pizza company stocks

Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $53.85, up big from $51.53 the previous week. The company hit its 52-week high in August when shares were $56.72. Yum! traded at a 52-week low of $43.85 in September 2010.

Domino's closed last Friday at $28.28, a significant jump from $26.87 the previous Friday, and just shy of the company's 52-week high of $28.74 set earlier in the week. Shares remain substantially higher over this time last year when the company traded at $13.19 in September 2010.

Papa John's closed Friday at $29.79, an increase from the previous week's closing of $28.07. The company hit its 52-week high earlier this summer at $34.12 and traded at a 52-week low of $25.10 in September 2010.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, hit $28.63 on Friday, which was up from $27.93 the previous week. The company hit its 52-week high of $41.75 in July. CEC hit its 52-week low of $33.18 in October 2010.

Following its positive year-end fiscal results announcement, Pizza Inn stocks were up to $3.14 Friday, from $2.87 the previous week. Pizza Inn hit its 52-week high earlier this summer when it finished at $3.26. It traded as low as $1.79 in September 2010.

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Photo provided by mvhargan.

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