Yum!, Papa John's stocks recover after sharp drops

Public pizza companies finished strong last week, including Yum! Brands, with shares up more than $10 since early February when the company was reeling from its China supply chain crisis.

Cheese

Average block cheese prices averaged $1.60 last week on the Chicago Mercantile, a slight increase from $1.57 the week prior, which was the lowest average since May 2012.

Cheese prices jumped to above $2.10 toward the end of the year, but have since fallen steadily.

Cheese markets closed at $1.60 Monday through Thursday, and $1.61 on Friday.

Wheat

Wheat prices fell to $8.01 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, from $8.05 last week. Two weeks ago, wheat dropped below $8 ($7.96) for the first time in months.

Wheat averaged $9.13 at the end of 2012. Prices during the mid-summer 2012 averaged $7.49, before the drought kicked in.

Last week, wheat closed at $8.11 Monday, $8 even Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and $7.96 on Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

After months on an upswing, gas prices slid downward for the third week in a row. Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.68, a penny lower than last week's price of $3.69.

According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were also $3.68. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.83 at the pump.

Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.85, also down a penny from $3.86 last week and from $3.91 two weeks ago. Premium gas is $4.00, from $4.01 last week.

Diesel fuel prices have also dropped, averaging $4.05 this week, from $4.09 last week and $4.12 two weeks ago. The price of diesel fuel is also down from $4.11 last month and from $4.13 a year ago.

Natural gas

Natural gas prices at major trading hubs increased moderately for the report week (March 6-13). Henry Hub prices increased from $3.57 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) March 6 to $3.72 per MMBtu March 13, while natural gas prices at Algonquin Citygate, for delivery into Boston increased from $7.77 per MMBtu to $8.69 per MMBtu.

The April 2013 New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) contract increased by 21 cents, from $3.470 per MMBtu March 6 to close at $3.680 per MMBtu March 13.

Pizza company stocks

Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. jumped again last week to close at $69.85, from $67.25 the week prior and $65.48 two weeks ago. Yum! continues to recover from its China supply chain "crisis" earlier this year. The company's 52-week high was $74.75 in November. It hit a new 52-week low of $59.68 on Feb. 5.

Domino's closed last Friday at $49.96, up a bit from $49.66 the week before. DPZ is riding a strong Q4 earnings report which led to a fresh 52-week-high of $50.19 on March 6. Shares in June were traded at $28.17.

Papa John's continues to recover after missing Q4 expectations earlier this month. It closed at $60.98, up from $59.56 the week prior and $52.01 two weeks ago. PZZA hit a new 52-week high on Wednesday at $61.36. The company hit its 52-week low of $36.56 a year ago.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $32.08, up from $31.74 the week prior. CEC hit its 52-week high a year ago at $39.72. Its 52-week low was in August at $28.23.

Pizza Inn closed out last week at $3.83, a jump from $3.41 the week prior. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $4.90 in March 2012 and traded as low as $2.18 in June.

Read more supply chain and commodities news.

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