Cheese prices hit 3-month high

Cheese

Average block cheese prices continued to climb last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, averaging $1.95, from $1.90 the week before.

Cheese reached its 3-month high of $2 on Nov. 15, but is expected to drop on slowing demand.

Cheese prices closed at $1.96 Monday, $2 Tuesday and Wednesday, $1.98 Thursday, and $1.83 Friday.

Wheat

Wheat prices dropped to $9.26 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, from $9.40 the previous week.

Wheat closed at $9.27 Monday, $9.31 Tuesday, $9.33 Wednesday, $9.25 Thursday and $9.17 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.35, down from $3.41 last week, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices are down slightly from $3.46 a month ago, but are significantly up from this time last year, when consumers were paying $2.87 at the pump.

Mid-range unleaded is $3.49, from $3.56 last week, while today's premium unleaded price is $3.63, from $3.70.

The nationwide average for diesel fuel is currently at $3.98, from $3.96 last week. The price of diesel fuel is up from last month's $3.84, and from this time last year when it cost $3.19.

Natural gas

A confluence of unsupportive market conditions served to undermine gas prices at all pricing points during the week. The Henry Hub price closed down 44 cents for the week to $3.11 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) on Nov. 16.

Pizza company stocks

Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $53.84, a drop from $55.81 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 $32.50, up from $32.37 the previous week. DPZ hit its 52-week high last Tuesday, at $33.33. 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 $36.36, down from $36.50 the prior week, which was the company's 52-week high. PZZA's shares remain strong after a favorable earnings report three 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 $33.58, a drop from $35.03 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 closed at $5.43 Friday, from $6 the previous Friday, its 52-week high. The recent 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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