Iranian threats push gas prices higher


Average block cheese prices were flat last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, averaging $1.56, equal to the prior week.

Cheese reached its three-month high of $2 on Nov. 15, but continues to drop on slowing demand. The $1.56 average is its lowest since early April.

Cheese prices closed at $1.56 Tuesday through Friday. The markets were closed Monday owing to the Christmas holiday.


Wheat inched a bit higher last week, averaging $8.57 on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. Wheat was $8.38 the previous week.

Wheat closed at $8.62 Tuesday, $8.63 Wednesday, $8.55 Thursday and $8.49 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Gas prices continue to rise after Iran threatened to shut down a key oil export waterway through the Persian Gulf.

Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.28, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. A week ago, regular was at $3.23.

Prices are flat in comparison to a month ago when the average was $3.27; however, they have increased 21 cents from this time last year when consumers were paying $3.07 at the pump.

Mid-range unleaded is $3.42, up slightly from $3.37 last week, while today's premium unleaded price is $3.56, also up slightly from $3.51 last week.

Diesel fuel prices are averaging $3.86 compared to $3.82 last week. The price of diesel fuel is up from $3.56 a month ago, and up from $3.32 a year ago.

Natural gas

Natural gas prices at most trading locations across the country fell or remained stable during the report week. The spot price at the Henry Hub fell 3 cents, from $3.08 per MMBtu on Dec. 14 to $3.05 per MMBtu on Dec. 21.

Pizza company stocks

Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $59.01, from $59.03 the previous week. Shares of Yum! Brands hit another 52-week high last Tuesday at $59.47. Yum! traded as low as $46.40 in January.

Domino's closed last Friday at $33.95, a bump from $33.87 the previous week. DPZ hit its 52-week high of $35.00 in mid-December. Shares remain substantially higher over this time last year when the company traded at $15.80.

Papa John's closed last week at $37.68, from $37.88 the previous week. PZZA hit its 52-week high in early December at $38.92. PZZA's 52-week low was a year ago when it traded at $26.95.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $34.45, a drop from $35.42 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 Friday at $5.50, a bump from $5.45 the previous week. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $6.60 in early December. PZZI traded as low as $1.86 a year ago.

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