Positive jobs report boosts pizza stocks

Cheese

Average block cheese prices continued to drop last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, averaging $1.77 from $1.81 the previous week.

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

Cheese prices closed at $1.81 Monday and Tuesday, $1.77 Wednesday, $1.76 Thursday and $1.74 Friday.

Wheat

Wheat prices fell again last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, averaging $8.43 from $8.54 the previous week. Two weeks ago, wheat was as high as $9.26. The current multi-month low is the result of a larger-than-expected grain output from China, and a positive jobs report from the U.S.

Wheat closed at $8.31 Monday, $8.38 Tuesday, $8.36 Wednesday, $8.54 Thursday and $8.56 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Gas prices continue to fall and are at their lowest level since February. Prices continue to slide despite an increase in crude oil prices, mostly due to a decrease in profit margins in the oil industry. 

Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.27, down from $3.29 last week, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices are down from $3.41 a month ago, but remain up from this time last year, when consumers were paying $2.93 at the pump.

Mid-range unleaded is $3.42, down from $3.44 last week, while today's premium unleaded price is $3.55, a slight decrease from $3.57.

Diesel fuel prices continued to slide and are averaging $3.93, compared to $3.96 last week. The price of diesel fuel is up, however, from $3.89 a month ago, and from $3.20 a year ago.

Natural gas

Many areas of the Southeastern United States experienced rare November snowfall and unseasonably cold weather earlier last week, which led to increases in natural gas consumption in the region.

For the week ending Nov. 30, prices less than $3 per million Btu (MMBtu) prior to the Thanksgiving holiday gave way to higher costs as temperatures turned from moderate to considerably colder. The Henry Hub price began the report week at $2.84 per MMBtu, but climbed continuously until closing last Friday at $3.53 per MMBtu.

Pizza company stocks

Pizza stocks were boosted by the stock market's best week in two years, after a surprise drop in the unemployment rate.

Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $56.25, up nearly $4 from the previous week, which closed at $52.72. 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 $33.56 up from $30.51 the previous week. DPZ hit its 52-week high earlier in the day on Friday, trading at $33.81. Shares remain substantially higher over this time last year when the company traded at $14.72.

Papa John's closed last week at $37.25, up from $35.50 the previous week. PZZA hit its 52-week high earlier in the week, at $38.18. PZZA's 52-week low was last December when it traded at $25.83.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $33.17, up from $32.35 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 $6.28 Friday after hitting a new 52-week high of $6.60 earlier in the day. The company closed at $5.30 last Friday. PZZI traded as low as $1.88 in November 2010.

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