The stock market was on a roller coaster after the Federal Reserve announced last week it will maintain stimulus measures despite some opposition.
Still, stock indexes ended higher, providing a boon to some public pizza companies. Domino's and Papa John's both experienced fresh 52-week highs last week.
Meanwhile, gas prices fell slightly last week, with some analysts predicting fuel to fall nearly 40 cents by Halloween because of a light hurricane season, among other factors.
After weeks on the rise, cheese prices finally tempered a bit last week on the Chicago Mercantile, with the average dropping 4 cents to $1.79 from $1.83 the week prior. Cheese is up about 15 cents from a month ago.
Cheese markets closed at $1.82 Monday, and $1.79 Tuesday through Friday.
Wheat prices continued to fall last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, averaging $7.01, down a penny from $7.02 the week prior.
A year ago, wheat was averaging above $9.
Last week, wheat closed at $7.01 Monday, $6.99 Tuesday, $7 Wednesday, $7.08 Thursday and $6.99 on Friday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
The nationwide average price for regular unleaded fuel today is $3.47, down 4 cents from $3.51 the week prior. According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.54.
Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.81 at the pump.
Monday's mid-range unleaded was $3.66, from $3.70 the week prior. Premium gas is $3.82, from $3.86.
Diesel fuel prices are averaging $3.92, from $3.94 last week. The price of diesel fuel was $3.88 a month ago and $4.10 a year ago.
Natural gas prices at trading locations outside of the Northeast rose moderately this report week (Sept. 11 – Sept. 18). The Henry Hub spot price rose 11 cents from $3.60 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) Sept. 11 to $3.71 per MMBtu Sept. 18.
The price of the near-month (October 2013) contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) also increased substantially during the week. The October contract rose from $3.567 per MMBtu Sept.11 to $3.713 Sept. 18.
Pizza company stocks
Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $72.73, up slightly from $72.39 the week prior. The company's 52-week low was in early February at $59.68. The company hit a new 52-week high of $75.13 last month.
Domino's finished last week at $67.62, a jump from $65.25 the week prior. DPZ hit another new 52-week high earlier in the week, at $67.71. Its 52-week low was $34.50 a year ago.
Papa John's finished Friday at $71.03, up from $68.82 the week prior. The company hit a new 52-week high last week at $72.14. The company hit its 52-week low of $46.42 a year ago.
CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $43.33, up from $41.90 the week prior. The company's 52-week high was in July at $45.66. Its low was a year ago at $28.95.
Pizza Inn closed out last week at $7.35, down slightly from $7.38 the week prior. The company's 52-week high was $9.18 in May. It traded as low as $2.47 a year ago.
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Alicia has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with FastCasual.com, QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.