Analysts predict $4 gas by spring

Jan. 15, 2012 | by Alicia Kelso


Average block cheese prices remained steady at $1.59 last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The previous week's average was also $1.59.

Cheese prices closed at $1.60 Monday, and $1.59 Tuesday through Friday.


Wheat prices dropped to $8.09 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, down from $8.25 the previous week.

Wheat prices continue to fall as U.S. crop conditions improve and as concerns that the European debt crisis may worsen prompted selling by some investors, according to Bloomberg.

Wheat closed at $8.09 Monday, $8.12 Tuesday, $8.16 Wednesday, $8.07 Thursday and $8.01 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Gas prices continue to inch up as crude oil prices rise. Prices are up 15 cents from a month ago, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.38. A week ago, regular was at $3.37.

Prices a month ago were $3.23. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.09 at the pump.

Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.52, up from $3.51 last week, while today's premium unleaded price is $3.66, an increase from $3.64 last week.

Diesel fuel prices are averaging $3.87, up from $3.85 last week. The price of diesel fuel matches where it was a month ago, and is up from $3.37 a year ago.

Last week, analysts predicted that gas prices could reach $4 a gallon by spring, citing production issues and global worries.

Natural gas

Higher-than-average seasonal temperatures, coupled with continued high storage levels and consistent production, put downward pressure on natural gas prices again this week. The Henry Hub price closed at $2.81 per MMBtu on Jan. 11, down 15 cents for the week.

Pizza company stocks

Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $60.86 after hitting another 52-week high earlier in the day at $61.64. Yum! closed the previous week at $59.85 and was lifted by news of its African expansion. A year ago, the company traded as low as $46.27.

Domino's closed last Friday at $34.08, up from $33.95 the previous week. DPZ hit its 52-week high of $35.00 in mid-December. Shares remain substantially higher over this time last year when the company traded at $15.80.

Papa John's closed last week at $38.41, from $38.10 the previous week. PZZA hit its 52-week high in early December at $38.92. PZZA's 52-week low was a year ago when it traded at $26.95.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $35.60, up more than $1 from $34.55 the previous Friday. CEC hit its 52-week low of $27.42 in September. The company hit its 52-week high of $41.75 in July. The company introduced its new agency of record last week, The Richards Group.

Pizza Inn closed Friday at $5.51, a slight drop from $5.57 the previous week. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $6.60 in early December. PZZI traded as low as $1.86 a year ago.

Read more about equipment and supplies.

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Topics: Cheese , Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza , Domino's Pizza , Equipment & Supplies , Operations Management , Papa John's , Pizza Hut , Pizza Inn

Alicia Kelso / Alicia has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with, and has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, and Franchise Asia magazine.
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