As President Obama and Congress mull over what to do about Syria and its leadership's use of chemical weapons on its own people, gas prices have responded unfavorably. The cost of fuel had been dropping throughout the past month, but tensions in the Middle East stemming from possible strikes by the U.S. have sent them back up. The situation has also caused many stocks to drop.
On a positive note, wheat prices continue to fall and are at their lowest point in more than year and a half.
Average block cheese prices jumped 5 cents last week on the Chicago Mercantile, averaging $1.73, from $1.68 the week prior.
Cheese averaged $1.90 in the spring.
Cheese markets closed at $1.69 Monday, $1.73 Tuesday, $1.75 Wednesday, $1.72 Thursday and $1.78 on Friday.
Wheat prices fell 2 more cents last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, averaging $7.27, from $7.29 the week prior.
Prices remain significantly lower than a year ago, with wheat averaging $9.13 at the end of 2012.
Last week, wheat closed at $7.29 Monday and Tuesday, $7.34 Wednesday, $7.24 Thursday and $7.20 on Friday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
The nationwide average price for regular unleaded fuel Monday was $3.59, up 5 cents from $3.54 the week prior. According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.62.
Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.82 at the pump.
Monday's mid-range unleaded was $3.75, up from $3.71 last week. Premium gas is $3.92, from $3.87 last week.
Diesel fuel prices are averaging $3.93, from $3.88 last week. The price of diesel fuel was $3.88 a month ago and $4.09 a year ago.
Natural gas hub prices were generally flat at the beginning of the report week (Aug. 21-28), but dipped at some locations heading into the weekend, before rising through the end of the report week. The Henry Hub spot price closed Aug. 28 at $3.54 per MMBtu, up 3 cents per MMBtu from the beginning of the report week. Prices in New England and New York dipped on Aug. 22 and Aug. 23, but then recovered through the end of trading Aug. 28. Prices at most other major hubs saw some dip over the weekend, but then recovered to close last week higher than where they were on Aug. 21.
At the Nymex, futures prices increased for the third consecutive report week. The near-month contract (September 2013) rose from $3.460 per MMBtu to $3.567 per MMBtu Aug. 28, its final day as the near-month contract.
Pizza company stocks
Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $70.55, down from $72.75 the week prior. The company's 52-week low was in early February at $59.68. The company hit a new 52-week high of $75.13 three weeks ago.
Domino's finished last week at $62.05, down slightly from $62.57 the week prior. DPZ hit its 52-week high in July at $64.70. Its 52-week low was $33.67 a year ago.
Papa John's finished Friday at $69.63, a drop from $71.23 the week prior. The company hit a new 52-week high two weeks ago at $71.72. The company hit its 52-week low of $46.42 a year ago.
CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $41.78, down from $42.97 the week prior. The company's 52-week high was in July at $45.66. Its low was a year ago at $28.95.
Pizza Inn closed out last week at $7.38, up a bit from $7.20 the week prior. The company's 52-week high was $9.18 in May. It traded as low as $2.47 a year ago.
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Photo provided by Wikimedia.