Wheat prices fell far below $8 last week, just the second time that's happened since prior to the drought of 2012. Gas prices also continued to drop and are down 33 cents from last month.
Average block cheese prices averaged $1.71 last week on the Chicago Mercantile, a 2-cent jump from the week prior and up nearly 15 cents from last month.
Cheese remains significantly lower than the $2.10 average toward the end of 2012.
Cheese markets closed at $1.69 Monday through Wednesday, $1.73 on Thursday and $1.76 on Friday.
Wheat prices were at their lowest average in months last week, at $7.81. The week prior, wheat averaged $8.02 on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. Wheat was below $8 just one other time since the mid-summer, when it averaged $7.96 in early March.
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 $7.65 Monday, $7.76 Tuesday, $7.91 Wednesday, $7.86 Thursday and $7.87 on Friday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
After months on an upswing, gas prices slid downward for the fourth week in a row. Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.59, a drop from $3.63 last week.
According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.70. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.92 at the pump.
Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.76, from $3.80 last week. Premium gas is $3.92, from $3.95 last week.
Diesel fuel prices averaged $3.99, down a penny from $4.00 last week. The price of diesel fuel is also down from $4.09 last month and from $4.16 a year ago.
Both spot and futures prices posted modest declines this report week (March 27 –April 3). The Henry Hub spot price decreased from $4.08 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) March 27 to $4.00 per MMBtu April 3. Most price points across the country also experienced modest declines.
The May 2013 New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) contract also declined, from $4.068 per MMBtu March 27 to close at $3.900 per MMBtu April 3.
Pizza company stocks
Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $67.73 last week, from $71.32 the week prior. The company's 52-week low was in early February of $59.68. The company's 52-week high was $74.75 in November.
Domino's closed last Friday at $51.22, a slight increase from $51.18 the week prior. DPZ is riding a strong Q4 earnings report which led to a fresh 52-week-high of $51.90 last week. Shares in June were traded at $28.17.
Papa John's closed last week at $61.76, up from $61.01 the Friday prior. PZZA also turned in a new 52-week high on April 2 at $62.41. The company hit its 52-week low of $36.56 a year ago.
CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $32.09, dropping from $39.36 the week prior after the company announced its new mobile app with augmented reality features. The $39.36 close also marked a new 52-week high for CEC, its first in nearly a year. The company's 52-week low was in August at $28.23.
Pizza Inn closed out last week at $4.37, up from $4.22 the week prior. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $4.75 a year ago and traded as low as $2.18 in June.
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Alicia Kelso has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.