Wheat prices drop to lowest point of the year

Average wheat prices fell to their lowest level of the year last week, while gas prices also continued to fall. Three pizza companies turned in fresh 52-week highs last week, as well.


Average block cheese prices remained steady last week on the Chicago Mercantile, averaging $1.65 for the second week in a row.

Cheese was 25 cents higher two months ago, when it averaged $1.90. It remains significantly lower than the $2.10 average at the end of 2012.

Cheese markets closed at $1.64 Monday, and $1.66 Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. The market was closed Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday.


Average wheat prices tumbled to $7.64 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, their lowest prices of the year so far. Last week, wheat averaged $7.98.

Prices averaged $9.13 at the end of 2012.

Last week, wheat closed at $7.78 Monday, $7.58 Tuesday, $7.61 Wednesday and $7.61 on Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

The nationwide average price for regular unleaded fuel is $3.47, down a penny from $3.48 last week.

According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.63. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.38 at the pump.

Monday's mid-range unleaded is $3.65, from $3.66 last week. Premium gas is $3.81, from $3.83 last week.

Diesel fuel prices are $3.81, down from $3.82 last week. The price of diesel fuel was $3.85 a month ago, and $3.67 a year ago.

Natural gas

Natural gas hub prices decreased in most areas during the report week (June 19 to June 26). The Henry Hub spot price closed June 26 at $3.72 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), down 21.0 cents from $3.93 the previous week.

At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), futures prices also decreased over the week. The near-month contract (July 2013) expired June 26 at $3.707, down 25.6 cents from $3.963 per MMBtu a week earlier. The August contract price, which today becomes the prompt month price, settled June 26 at $3.737.

Pizza company stocks

Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $71.66, up from $69.60 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 closed out last week at $61.01, up from $58.80 the week prior. The company refreshed its 52-week high on Friday at $61.48. Its low was $30.16 a year ago.

Papa John's closed last week at $68.12, a jump from $65.47 the week prior. PZZA also turned in a new 52-week high last week at $69.37. The company hit its 52-week low of $46.42 a year ago.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, finished out last week at $42.95, up from $41.51 the week prior. CEC turned in a new 52-week high on Friday at $43.89. Its 52-week low was in August at $28.23.

Pizza Inn closed out last week at $5.93, up slightly from $5.65 the week prior. PZZI hit a new 52-week high in May, at $9.18. The company traded as low as $2.20 a year ago.

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