Cheese prices took an abrupt turn upwards last week after dropping to its lowest average in nearly a year. Prices were $1.57 earlier this month. They now average $1.65.
Stubborn winter-like weather across much of the nation has also kept natural gas prices high. Included below are more prices from last week.
Average block cheese prices averaged $1.65 on the Chicago Mercantile, a 5-cent jump from $1.60 the week prior, and up from $1.57 two weeks ago when cheese was at its lowest point since May.
Cheese remains significantly lower than the $2.10 average toward the end of the year.
Cheese markets closed at $1.61 Monday, $1.62 Tuesday, $1.64 Wednesday, $1.68 Thursday and $1.70 on Friday.
Wheat prices fell to $8 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, from $8.01 the week prior. Earlier this month, wheat dropped below $8 ($7.96) for the first time 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 $7.88 Monday, $7.98 Tuesday, $8.09 Wednesday, $8.02 Thursday and $8.06 on Friday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
After months on an upswing, gas prices slid downward for the third week in a row. Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.66, a 2-cent drop from last week's price of $3.68.
According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.78. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.89 at the pump.
Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.83, from $3.85 last week. Premium gas is $3.99, from $4.00 last week.
Diesel fuel prices averaged $4.02, down from $4.05 last week. The price of diesel fuel is also down from $4.14 last month and from $4.15 a year ago.
Natural gas prices were up across the report week (March 13-20). Prices increased by around 25 to 30 cents per million British thermal units (MMBtu) at most price points, with the exception of Northeastern points, which rose more substantially. The Henry Hub closed at $3.96 MMBtu March 20, up 24 cents for the week.
The April 2013 New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) contract rose apace with the Henry Hub spot price, from $3.680 per MMBtu last Wednesday to close at $3.960 per MMBtu March 20.
Pizza company stocks
Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $69.46, a slight drop fom $69.85 the week prior, but still significantly higher than its 52-week low in early February of $59.68. The company's 52-week high was $74.75 in November.
Domino's closed last Friday at $50.84, up from $49.96 the week prior. DPZ is riding a strong Q4 earnings report which led to a fresh 52-week-high of $51.25 last week. Shares in June were traded at $28.17.
Papa John's closed last week at $61.09, up from $60.98 the week prior and up more than $10 from $52.01 earlier this month. PZZA hit a fresh new 52-week high of $62.31 last week. 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 $32.50, up from $32.08 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 $3.81, a slight drop from $3.83 the week prior. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $4.90 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.