Yum! Brands rebounds after apologizing for China supply chain 'shortcomings'

Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed Friday at $66.87, from $67.58 the week prior. The company rebounded from a 5-plus-percent drop earlier in the week after Yum! Brands warned investors that its China sales are below its earlier forecast. The company cited bad publicity from the China government's review of the chicken supply to sister company KFC.

In December, Chinese food safety authorities claimed that KFC's chicken contained too many antibiotics. The investigation by the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration affected KFC's — and parent company Yum! Brands' — reputation. Yum! claimed it stopped purchasing poultry from one of the two suppliers in August. Yum! Brands has since issued an apology to Chinese consumers over its handling of the "inspection shortcomings and lack of transparency."


Meanwhile, average block cheese prices fell 4 cents last week on the Chicago Mercantile Market, averaging $1.72, from $1.76 the week prior.

The $1.72 cost matches cheese prices from the week before Christmas.

Cheese closed at $1.76 on Monday, and $1.72 Tuesday through Friday.


Wheat prices also fell 4 cents last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, averaging $8.44, from $8.48 the week prior.

Wheat closed at $8.46 Monday, $8.45 Tuesday, $8.40 Wednesday, $8.39 Thursday and $8.45 Friday.

Wheat prices were averaging $9.13 about a month ago. The cost is still significantly higher than it was during the middle of the summer, when prices averaged $7.49.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.30, up a penny from $3.29 the week prior, according to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Prices a month ago were $3.27. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.38 at the pump.

Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.46, up a penny from $3.45 last week. Premium gas is $3.61 today, also up a penny from last week.

Diesel fuel prices are currently $3.90, from $3.91 last week. The price of diesel fuel is down from $3.94 a month ago, and up from $3.87 a year ago.

Natural gas

At most market locations, natural gas prices fell during the report week (Jan. 2 to Jan. 9). The Henry Hub spot price fell from $3.30 per million Btu (MMBtu) Jan. 2 to $3.14 per MMBtu Jan. 9.

The near-month (February 2013) NYMEX futures contract declined 12 cents per MMBtu over the report week, from $3.233 per MMBtu Jan. 2 to $3.113 per MMBtu Jan. 9.

Pizza company stocks

After turning in high numbers across the board thanks to Washington D.C.'s efforts to avert going off the fiscal cliff, pizza stocks stabilized a bit on Friday. During the first week of January, the S&P 500 finished at its highest collective closing since December 2007.

Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed Friday at $66.87, from $67.58 the week prior. The company's 52-week high was in the spring at $74.75. Its 52-week low is $61.05 from a year ago. Notably, Pizza Hut rebounded from a sharp, $3-plus drop in the beginning of the week after Yum! Brands warned investors that its China sales are below its earlier forecast because of the chicken supply chain investigation at KFC.

Domino's closed last Friday at $45.16, up from $44.61 the week prior. The company hit a fresh 52-week earlier this month at $45.98. Shares remain higher over this time last year when the company traded at $28.17.

Papa John's closed out last week $55.02, down from $56.66 the week prior. PZZA hit its 52-week high at $56.69 earlier this month, eclipsing its previous high of $56.41 set in August. The company hit its 52-week low of $36.26 a year ago.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $33.85, up slightly from $33.66 the week prior. The company's 52-week high was $40.01 in March. Its 52-week low was $28.23 a year ago.

Pizza Inn finished last week at $3.75, up from $3.61 the week prior. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $6.50 a year ago and traded as low as $2.18 in June.

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