Average block cheese prices averaged $1.57 last week on the Chicago Mercantile, their lowest since May 2012. Cheese prices jumped to above $2.10 toward the end of the year, but have since fallen steadily. A week ago, they were $1.59.
Cheese markets closed at $1.55 Monday and Tuesday, $1.57 Wednesday, $1.59 Thursday and $1.60 on Friday.
Wheat prices inched back up last week to average $8.05 on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. This is a slight increase from $7.96 last week, which marked the first time wheat fell below the $8 mark in months. Wheat 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 $8.07 Monday, $8.08 Tuesday, $8.02 Wednesday and $8.06 Thursday and Friday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.69, marking two weeks in a row the price has dropped after months on the rise. Fuel last week was $3.74. According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.57. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.79 at the pump.
Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.86, down from $3.91 last week. Premium gas is $4.01, from $4.06 last week.
Diesel fuel prices are also down slightly, at $4.09, from $4.12 last week. The price of diesel fuel is up from $3.88 last month and from $4.10 a year ago.
Natural gas prices rose at most trading points during the report week (Feb. 27 to March 6). The Henry Hub spot price ended the week March 6 at $3.57 per MMBtu, up 8 cents from its level the previous week.
The front-month (April 2013) New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) contract ended yesterday slightly higher than its value the previous week, at $3.470 per MMBtu, compared to $3.434 per MMBtu last week.
Pizza company stocks
Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. rose to $67.25 last week, compared to $65.48 the week prior. Yum! continues to recover from its China supply chain "crisis" earlier this year. The company's 52-week high was $74.75 in November. It hit a new 52-week low of $59.68 on Feb. 5.
Domino's closed last Friday at $49.66, up from $47.62 the week before. DPZ is riding a strong Q4 earnings report which led to a fresh 52-week-high of $50.19 on March 6. Shares in June were traded at $28.17.
Papa John's has recovered after missing Q4 expectations two weeks ago. It closed at $59.56 on Friday, up from $52.01 the week prior. PZZA hit a new 52-week high earlier on Friday at $60.52. 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 $31.74, a slight increase from $30.25 the week prior. CEC hit its 52-week high a year ago at $39.72. Its 52-week low was in August at $28.23.
Pizza Inn closed out last week at $3.41, up from $3.15 the week prior. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $5.08 in March 2012 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.