Wheat prices pass $9 mark

A steadier European financial market pushed demand – and prices – up for gasoline, the first rise at the pump in months. Wheat prices rose sharply last week, finishing above $9, while cheese prices remained steady.

Cheese

Average block cheese prices dropped a penny to $1.64 last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, from $1.65 the week prior.

Cheese prices closed at $1.64 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The markets were closed Wednesday for the Fourth of July holiday.

Wheat

Wheat prices jumped again last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, averaging $9.02, up from $8.61 the week prior. Wheat was $7.49 in early June.

Wheat closed at $8.71 Monday, $8.86 Tuesday, $9.38 Thursday and $9.13 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.38, up from $3.32 the previous week, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Still, prices a month ago were 16 cents higher at $3.54. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.61 at the pump.

Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.53, from $3.48 the week prior, while today's premium unleaded price is $3.67, from $3.62.

Diesel fuel prices are averaging $3.67, from $3.65 last week. The price of diesel fuel is down from $3.84 a month ago, and from $3.90 a year ago.

Natural gas

Natural gas prices generally registered overall increases for the report week (June 20 to June 27) at many of the country's trading locations. The Henry Hub price, which dropped 12 cents per million British thermal units (MMBtu) on June 21, rose sharply on June 25 and again June 26 to close at $2.87 per MMBtu (up 27 cents for the week).

The natural gas futures market trended steadily higher over the week. At the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the July 2012 natural gas contract gained 25.7 cents per MMBtu to close at $2.774 per MMBtu June 26.

Pizza company stocks

Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $64.75, up nearly a dollar from $63.89 the week prior. The company hit its 52-week high in May at $74.44. Its 52-week low is $47.15 from a year ago.

Domino's closed last Friday at $30.83, up from $30.44 a week ago. DPZ's 52-week high was $42.21 in April. Shares remain higher over this time last year when the company traded at $22.84.

Papa John's closed last week at $48.43, a jump from $46.19 the week prior. PZZA hit its 52-week high in May 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 $36.62, up from $35.70 the week prior. The company hit its 52-week high of $42.75 in July 2011. Its 52-week low was $25.83 in September.

Pizza Inn closed Friday at $2.58, down a penny from $2.59 the previous week. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $7.07 in December and traded as low as $2.18 a year ago.

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