Cheese and wheat prices both inched back up last week, while gas prices continued to slide. Pizza Inn hit a fresh 52-week-high after announcing a new franchising agreement to expand the chain's new fast casual pizza concept, Pie Five, to the Kansas City, Mo., market.
Average block cheese prices averaged $1.80 last week on the Chicago Mercantile, a 9-cent jump from the week prior and up nearly a quarter from last month.
Cheese remains significantly lower than the $2.10 average toward the end of 2012.
Cheese markets closed at $1.78 Monday, $1.79 Tuesday, $1.80 Wednesday, $1.82 Thursday and $1.83 on Friday.
Wheat prices inched back up last week, averaging $7.95, after turning in their lowest prices in months the week prior, with an average of $7.81. According to the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, wheat has been below $8 just three times since mid-summer.
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 $7.99 Monday and Tuesday, $7.84 Wednesday, $7.89 Thursday and $8.07 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 $3.52, down from $3.59 last week.
According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.68. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.90 at the pump.
Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.69, from $3.76 last week. Premium gas is $3.85 from $3.92 last week.
Diesel fuel prices averaged $3.95, a small drop from $3.99 last week. The price of diesel fuel is also down from $4.06 last month and from $4.14 a year ago.
Both spot and futures prices increased during the report week (April 3 to April 10). The Henry Hub spot price increased from $4.00 per million British thermal unit (MMBtu) to $4.07 per MMBtu.
Mirroring movements in the spot price, the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) near-month (May 2013) futures price increased from $3.900 per MMBtu April 3 to $4.085 per MMBtu April 10.
Pizza company stocks
Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $67.23, from $67.73 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 $52.11, a slight gain from $51.22 the week prior. DPZ is riding a strong Q4 earnings report which led to a fresh 52-week-high of $52.91 last week. Shares in June were traded at $28.17.
Papa John's closed last week at $61.47, a decrease from $61.76 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 $37.56 a year ago.
CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $32.54, up from $32.09 the week prior. CEC hit a new 52-week high of $39.36 two weeks ago after a new mobile app launch. The company's 52-week low was in August at $28.23.
Pizza Inn closed out last week at $5.99, a big jump from $4.37 the week prior after announcing new franchising agreements. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $6.23 earlier in the day on Friday 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.