Gas prices temper before busy travel season

Gas prices fell slightly after two weeks on the rise, just ahead of busy travel season.

Meanwhile, in commodities news:

Cheese

Average block cheese prices fell to $1.75 last week on the Chicago Mercantile, from $1.77 the week prior and $1.86 two weeks ago.

Cheese remains lower than the $2.10 average at the end of 2012.

Cheese markets closed at $1.77 Monday, $1.76 Tuesday and Wednesday, and $1.75 on Thursday and Friday.

Wheat

After a few weeks on the rise, wheat prices fell for the second week in a row, averaging $8.11, from $8.24 the week prior on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange.

Wheat averaged $7.81 in early April. Prices 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, $8.13 Tuesday, $8.07 Wednesday, $8.13 Thursday and $8.05 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

After two weeks on the rise, nationwide average prices for regular unleaded fuel has tempered a bit. Monday's average price was $3.63, down from $3.66 last week.

According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.50. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.64 at the pump.

Monday's mid-range unleaded was $3.81, from $3.83 last week. Premium gas was $3.95, from $3.97.

Diesel fuel prices held steady at $3.88 for the third week in a row. The price of diesel fuel was also $3.88 a month ago, and $3.94 a year ago.

Natural gas

Natural gas spot prices increased at most trading locations during the report week (May 15–May 22). The Henry Hub spot price increased from $4.03 per million British thermal unit (MMBtu) May 15 to $4.16 per MMBtu May 22.

At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), the price of the near-month (June 2013) natural gas futures contract increased from $4.070 per MMBtu May 15 to $4.186 per MMBtu May 22.

Pizza company stocks

Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $69.30, from $70.16 the week prior. The company's 52-week low was in early February at $59.68. The company's 52-week high was $74.75 in November.

Domino's finished at $59.21, up from $57.57 the week prior. For the fourth week in a row, Domino's hit another 52-week high at $59.45. Its low was in June at $28.17. Analysts attribute the 52-week highs to better-than-expected Q1 results, international expansions, increasing global demand and effective pricing.

Papa John's closed last week at $63.23, down from $65.71 the week prior. PZZA turned in a new 52-week high earlier this month at $66.85. The company hit its 52-week low of $45.19 a year ago.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $39.25, up from $39.12 the week prior. CEC hit a new 52-week high of $40.09 two weeks ago, riding a positive earnings report. The company's 52-week low was in August at $28.23.

Pizza Inn closed out last week at $4.93, down from $5.91 the week prior. PZZI hit a new 52-week high earlier this month, at $9.18, after announcing a new franchise plan. The company traded as low as $2.18 in June.

Photo provided by Wikipedia.

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