Pizza stocks take a hit across the board

Pizza companies are navigating a tricky market and feeling the effects of a $2 billion loss from JP Morgan Chase's risky trading activities. However, wheat prices remain nearly $1 lower than they were just a month ago, attributable to relatively normal weather patterns and lower gas prices.


Average block cheese prices remained steady last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, averaging $1.50, matching the previous week.

Prices closed at $1.50 Monday through Friday.


After three weeks of decline, wheat prices increased a bit last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, averaging $7.62, from $7.33 the previous week.

Wheat was above $8 last month.

Prices last week closed at $7.41 Monday, $7.50 Tuesday, $7.60 Wednesday, $7.67 Thursday and $7.92 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.68, down again from $3.72 last week, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices also are down from a month ago when they were $3.87. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.86 at the pump.

Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.85, down from $3.88 last week, while today's premium unleaded price is $3.99, also down from $4.02.

Diesel fuel prices are averaging $3.99, down from $4.04 last week. The price of diesel fuel is down from $4.12 a month ago, and from $4.06 a year ago.

Natural gas

Natural gas prices remained above $2.30 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) over the report week (May 9-16) at most of the country's trading locations. The Henry Hub price moved within a 5-cent range for much of the week before rising sharply, closing at $2.50 per MMBtu May 15 (up 14 cents for the week).

The natural gas futures market trended higher over the week. At the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the June 2012 natural gas contract gained 15.3 cents per MMBtu to close at $2.618 per MMBtu yesterday.

Pizza company stocks

Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $67.87, down about $4 from the previous week, when it closed at $71.70. The company hit its 52-week high earlier this week at $74.44 after turning in a positive earnings report. Its 52-week low is $47.15 from a year ago.

Domino's closed last Friday at $30.11, also down from the previous week, at $33.65. DPZ's 52-week high was $42.21 from last month. Shares remain substantially higher over this time last year when the company traded at $22.84.

Papa John's closed last week at $45.89, from $48.55 the week prior. PZZA hit its 52-week high earlier this month at $50.45 after a positive earnings report. The company hit its 52-week low of $26.95 a year ago.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $35.48, down from $36.02 the week prior. CEC hit its 52-week low of $25.83 in September. The company hit its 52-week high of $42.75 in July 2011.

Pizza Inn closed Friday at $2.67, a drop from $3.05 the week prior. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $7.07 in December and traded as low as $2.20 a year ago.

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