Gas prices fell another dime last week and are down more than 50 cents per gallon from two months ago.
Additionally, cheese prices continue to fall after averaging above $2 in early November, and wheat fell more than 20 cents in the past week. Mild December weather has also kept natural gas prices low across much of the country.
Average block cheese prices dropped again last week on the Chicago Mercantile Market, averaging $1.74, from $1.76 the week prior. Cheese averaged $2.11 two months ago.
Prices closed at $1.76 Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and at $1.72 Thursday and Friday.
Wheat prices dropped more than 20 cents last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, averaging $8.92, from $9.13 the week prior.
Wheat remains about $1.50 higher than it was in the summer, when prices averaged $7.49.
Prices closed at $9.10 Monday, $8.96 Tuesday, $8.90 Wednesday, and $8.84 on Thursday and Friday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.24, down a dime from $3.34 last week.
According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.42. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.23 at the pump.
Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.41, down from $3.50 last week. Premium gas is $3.56, from $3.65 last week.
Diesel fuel prices fell as well, to $3.93 from $3.98 last week. The price of diesel fuel is down from $3.99 last month and up from $3.87 last year.
Natural gas prices registered overall decreases for the report week (Dec. 5 to Dec. 12) at many of the country's trading locations. The Henry Hub price rose Dec. 6 to $3.48 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), but closed Dec. 12 at $3.33 per MMBtu, down 8 cents per MMBtu for the week.
Prices at the natural gas futures market continued to decrease — a decline which started at the end of November — trending lower throughout the week. At the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the January 2012 natural gas contract lost 31.8 cents per MMBtu overall to close at $3.382 per MMBtu yesterday.
Pizza company stocks
Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed at $67.90, up from $66.30 the previous week when the company issued a soft Q4 forecast for its strong China division. The company's 52-week high was in the spring at $74.75. Its 52-week low is $57.45 from a year ago.
Domino's closed last Friday at $42.14, up from $41.77 the week prior. The company's 52-week high was $42.69 in April. Shares remain higher over this time last year when the company traded at $28.17.
Papa John's closed out last week $52.83, up slightly from $52.73 the week prior. PZZA hit its 52-week high at $56.41 after a strong Q2 earnings report in early August. The company hit its 52-week low of $35.89 a year ago.
CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $31.60, a slight drop from $31.71 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 $3.40, from $3.44 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 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.