Weak demand sends gas prices tumbling

Cheese

Average block cheese prices experienced some relief last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, dropping to $1.81 from the previous week's average of $1.95.

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

Cheese prices closed at $1.83 Monday, $1.83 Tuesday and $1.78 Wednesday. The exchange was closed Thursday and Friday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Wheat

Wheat prices tumbled to $8.54 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, down from $9.26 the previous week. The multi-month low was the result of a downturn in China's manufacturing sector and the European debt crisis pushing fears over global growth.

Wheat closed at $8.96 Monday, $8.60 Tuesday, $8.35 Wednesday and $8.27 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Gas prices continue to fall on weak demand and are at their lowest level since February. Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $$3.29, down 6 cents from $3.35 last week, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices are also down from $3.44 a month ago, but remain up from this time last year, when consumers were paying $2.86 at the pump.

Mid-range unleaded is $3.44, down slightly from $3.49 last week, while today's premium unleaded price is $3.57, down from $3.63.

Diesel fuel prices also got a break after a few weeks on the rise, averaging $3.96 as compared to $3.98 last week. The price of diesel fuel is up from last month's $3.72, and from this time last year when it cost $3.18.

Natural gas

A confluence of unsupportive market conditions served to undermine gas prices at all pricing points during the week. The Henry Hub spot 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 $52.72, a drop from $53.84 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 $30.51, down from $32.50 the previous week. DPZ hit its 52-week high in early November, 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 $35.50, down from $36.36 the previous week. PZZA hit its 52-week high earlier in the week, at $36.78. PZZA's 52-week low was last November when it reached $25.00.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $32.35, a drop from $33.58 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 $5.30 Friday, down slightly from $5.43 the previous week. PZZI hit its 52-week high earlier this month, at $6. PZZI traded as low as $1.88 in November 2010.

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