Weak dollar drives up wheat prices


Average block cheese prices continued to climb last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, averaging $1.90, from $1.83 the week before.

Cheese was at $1.72 two weeks ago.

Cheese prices closed at $1.87 Monday, $1.90 Tuesday, $1.89 Wednesday and Thursday, and $1.95 Friday.


Wheat prices jumped up to $9.40 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, from $9.12 the previous week.

Wheat closed at $9.28 Monday, $9.46 Tuesday, $9.51 Wednesday, $9.45 Thursday and $9.34 Friday.

The U.S. wheat market has been volatile mostly due to weak exports and a weaker dollar.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.41, up a penny from $3.40 last week, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices are down slightly from $3.45 a month ago, but are significantly up from this time last year, when consumers were paying $2.89 at the pump.

Mid-range unleaded is $3.56, from $3.55 last week, while today's premium unleaded price is $3.70, from $3.68 last week.

The nationwide average for diesel fuel continues to rise, and is currently at $3.96, from $3.90 last week. The price of diesel fuel is up from last month's $3.80, and from this time last year when it cost $3.18.

Natural gas

Continuing its recent trend of languishing below the $4 per million Btu (MMBtu) mark, the Henry Hub natural gas spot price oscillated this week, and posted an overall net increase of 16 cents, from $3.39 per MMBtu Nov. 2, to $3.55 per MMBtu on Nov. 9.

Pizza company stocks

Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $55.81, a big jump from $53.98 the previous week. The company hit its 52-week high in August when shares were $56.72. Yum! traded as low as $46.40 in January.

Domino's closed last Friday at $32.37, up from $32.01 the previous week. DPZ hit its 52-week high in October, at $33.00. Shares remain substantially higher over this time last year when the company traded at $13.98 in November 2010.

Papa John's closed last week at its new 52-week high of $36.50, from $35.54 the previous week. The company's shares continue to surge following a strong earnings report two weeks ago. PZZA's 52-week low was last November, at $25.00.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $35.03, an increase of nearly $1 from $34.04 the previous Friday. CEC hit its 52-week low of $27.42 in September. The company hit its 52-week high of $41.75 in July.

Pizza Inn hit its new 52-week high last week, and finished Friday at $6.00 even, up from $4.73 last week. The boost came after a strong Q1 earnings report and news of the company's expanded credit facility to grow its Pie Five concept. PZZI traded as low as $1.88 in November 2010.

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