The stock market continued its bullish foray into 2013. On Friday, the S&P 500 experienced its highest close since December 2007. Domino’s in particular has benefited from the lift, and is up nearly 7 percent since the beginning of the year. This is on top of a 2012 that was nearly 30 percent higher than 2011.
Also last week, cheese and wheat prices fell, while gas prices experienced an uptick for the first time in more than a month.
Average block cheese prices continued to fall last week on the Chicago Mercantile Market, averaging $1.65, from $1.70 the week prior and $1.76 at the beginning of the month.
Cheese closed at $1.66 Tuesday and Wednesday, and $1.64 Thursday and Friday. The markets were closed Monday because of the Martin Luther King. Jr. holiday.
Wheat prices also dropped slightly last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, averaging $8.61 from $8.66 the week prior.
Wheat closed at $8.64 Tuesday, $8.60 Wednesday, $8.55 Thursday and $8.65 on Friday.
Wheat prices were averaging $9.13 about a month ago. The cost is still significantly higher than it was during the middle of the summer when prices averaged $7.49.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.34, up from $3.30 the week prior and the first increase in prices in more than a month. According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.28. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.41 at the pump.
Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.50, also up 4 cents from $3.46 last week. Premium gas is $3.66, from $3.62 last week.
Diesel fuel prices are currently $3.90, up a penny from $3.89 last week. The price of diesel fuel is down from $3.91 a month ago, but up from $3.86 a year ago.
Natural gas prices in the Northeast increased significantly since Jan. 18, while natural gas prices at other major trading hubs increased moderately for the report week (Jan. 16-Jan. 23). Natural gas prices at Algonquin Citygate, for delivery into Boston and Transco Zone 6 New York increased from $8.98 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) and $5.92 per MMBtu Jan. 16 to $31.32 per MMBtu and $35.33 per MMBtu Jan. 23, respectively. The Henry Hub daily spot price closed at $3.53 per MMBtu Jan. 23, up 10 cents per MMBtu for the week.
The February 2013 New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) contract increased by 12 cents, from $3.435 per MMBtu Jan. 16 to close at $3.554 per MMBtu Jan. 23.
Pizza company stocks
The stock market continued its bullish drive into 2013. On Friday, the S&P 500 experienced its highest close since December 2007. Once again, public pizza companies benefited from the lift; all of them closed higher on Friday than they had the previous week.
Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed Friday at $66.39, up from $65.40 the week prior. The company's 52-week high was in the spring at $74.75. Its 52-week low is $61.05 from a year ago.
Domino's closed last Friday at $46.65, up from $45.46 the week prior. The company hit a fresh 52-week earlier last week at $47.25. Shares remain higher over this time last year when the company traded at $28.17. According to Seeking Alpha, Domino’s was up "an astonishing 28 percent in 2012. So far, the returns have continued in to 2013 with shares up about 6.50 percent since the start of the year."
Papa John's closed out last week $56.44, a jump from $55.31 the week prior. PZZA hit its 52-week high at $56.74 earlier this month. The company hit its 52-week low of $36.26 a year ago.
CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $33 even, up from $32.46 the week prior. The company's 52-week high was $40.01 in March. Its 52-week low was $28.23 a year ago.
Pizza Inn finished last week at $3.66, a slight increase from $3.61 the week prior. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $6.50 a year ago and traded as low as $2.18 in June.
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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.