Gas prices set Labor Day record

As clean up in the Gulf States continues from Hurricane Isaac, high gas prices set a Labor Day record and averaged 20-plus cents more than last month. Analysts are expecting gradual relief to begin this week.

Cheese prices are stable, while natural gas and wheat prices have dropped.

Cheese

Average block cheese prices held steady at $1.84 last week on the Chicago Mercantile Market, matching the week prior. Cheese prices are nearly 15 cents higher than they were at the beginning of last month.

Cheese prices closed at $1. 85 Monday and Tuesday, $1.87 Wednesday, $1.85 Thursday and $1.82 Friday.

Wheat

Wheat prices dropped slightly last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, averaging $9.26. Prices the week before were $9.30. Wheat averaged $7.49 in early June.

Prices closed at $9.12 Monday, $9.10 Tuesday, $9.40 Wednesday and Thursday and $9.31 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

As damage from Hurricane Isaac is being assessed in the Gulf States, gas prices remain much higher than before the storm hit.

Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.82, up 7 cents from $3.75 last week and 21 cents higher than a month ago, according to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices a month ago were at $3.61. Last year, consumers were paying $3.66 at the pump.

Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.97, from $3.89 the week prior, while today's premium is $4.11, up from $4.03 last week.

Diesel fuel prices today are at $4.10, from $4.03 last week. The price of diesel fuel is up from $3.81 a month ago, and from $3.90 a year ago.

Natural gas

Natural gas prices generally registered overall decreases for the report week (Aug. 22-29) at many of the country's trading locations. The Henry Hub price, which remained fairly steady through much of the week, dropped 8 cents per million British thermal units (MMBtu) on Tuesday and an additional 9 cents per MMBtu yesterday, closing at $2.63 per MMBtu (down 17 cents per MMBtu for the week).

The natural gas futures market trended significantly downward throughout the week before rebounding at week's end. At the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the September 2012 natural gas contract lost 19.2 cents per MMBtu to close at $2.634 per MMBtu yesterday.

Pizza company stocks

Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $63.72, down slightly from $64.03 last week, and more than $2 from $66.10 two weeks ago. 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 $35.44, a dime short of $35.54 the previous Friday. DPZ's 52-week high was $42.21 in April. Shares remain higher over this time last year when the company traded at $25.29.

Papa John's closed last Friday at $51.49, down from $51.96 the week prior. PZZA hit its 52-week high at $56.41 after turning in a strong earnings report last month. The company hit its 52-week low of $27.54 a year ago.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $29.49, a slight drop from $29.80 the week prior. The company's 52-week high was $40.01 a year ago. Its 52-week low was $25.83 in September.

Pizza Inn closed Friday at $3.44, a jump from $3.23 the previous week. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $7.07 in December and traded as low as $2.18 a year ago.

Photo provided by Rennett Stowe via Flickr.

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