CHICAGO -- Block cheese prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange continued to rise last week, averaging slightly under $1.28 per pound for the trading week ended March 20, up 5 cents from an average of $1.23 per pound last week. Block cheese prices closed at just above $1.25 per pound Monday, just under $1.27 per pound Tuesday and Wednesday, just above $1.30 per pound Thursday and just above $1.29 per pound on Friday. Prices are off 49 cents, or 27 percent, compared with this time last year, when block cheese averaged $1.77 per pound. Wheat Wheat for May delivery closed at just under $6.36 per bushel Friday on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. Prices had closed at just under $6.33 per bushel Monday, $6.39 per bushel Tuesday, just under $6.19 per bushel Wednesday and just above $6.39 per bushel Thursday. Gasoline and diesel fuel The nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline was $1.96 per gallon March 23, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, up 5 cents from the previous week. Prices are up 2 percent from an average of $1.92 per gallon a month ago and off 40 percent from an average of $3.26 per gallon this time last year. Mid-range unleaded averaged $2.08 per gallon while premium unleaded stood at $2.15 per gallon. The nationwide average price for diesel fuel stood at $2.14 per gallon March 23, up a penny from last week. Diesel prices are off 47 percent from an average of $4.04 per gallon this time last year. Natural gas
Warmer temperatures moved into major population centers this report week, resulting in continued price declines, according to the Energy Information Administration. The biggest decreases occurred west of the Mississippi River.
The Henry Hub spot price fell 17 cents per million Btu to $3.75.
Prices in the Northeast stood at $4.17 per MMBtu on March 11, up 25 cents compared with $3.92 the previous week.
Shares in Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. opened at $27.11 on March 23, off slightly from last Monday's open of $27.16. YUM traded at a 52-week high of $41.73 in May 2008 and a 52-week low of $21.50 in November 2008.
Domino's opened at $6.45, off slightly from last week's open of $6.47. Over the past 52 weeks, DPZ has traded as high as $15.18 in March 2008 and as low as $2.61 in November 2008.
Papa John's stock opened at $23.63, off 20 cents compared with last Monday's open of $23.83. PZZA traded at a 52-week high of $30.68 in September 2008 and a 52-week low of $12.78 in November 2008.
Shares in CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, opened at $24.25, up $1.01 compared with last Monday's open of $23.24. CEC traded at a 52-week high of $39.59 in May 2008 and a 52-week low of $12.96 in November 2008.
California Pizza Kitchen opened at $13.87 on March 23, up $2.10 from last week's open of $11.77. Over the past 52 weeks, CPKI has traded as high as $16.91 in May 2008 and as low as $5.24 in November 2008.
Pizza Inn opened at $1.10, up 4 cents compared with last Monday's open of $1.06. PZZI traded at a 52-week high of $3.00 in April 2008 and a 52-week low of $1.03 in March 2009.