A survey released Sunday shows that gas prices may have hit their peak as they experienced their smallest increase since early January and stayed steady for the past week. Also, although cheese stayed steady, wheat prices jumped 37 cents in the past week.
Average block cheese prices held steady at $1.49 last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, matching the prior week's average. Prices two weeks ago were $1.58.
Prices closed at $1.49 Monday through Thursday. The market was closed Friday due to the Good Friday and Easter holidays.
Wheat prices jumped again last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange to $8.47, up from $8.10 the previous week.
Wheat prices closed at $8.49 Monday, $8.50 Tuesday, $8.45 Wednesday and $8.46 Thursday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.92, even from $3.92 last week according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.
Prices a month ago were $3.77. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.76 at the pump.
Today's mid-range unleaded is $4.06, also steady from $4.06 last week, while today's premium unleaded price is $4.19, from $4.19 last week.
Diesel fuel prices are averaging $4.16, from $4.16 last week. The price of diesel fuel is up from $4.09 a month ago, and from $4.05 a year ago.
After four months of continuous increases, U.S. gas prices showed their smallest increase since early January — and may be nearing or past their peak if the price of crude oil holds steady, according to a national survey published Sunday.
Although temperatures generally remained somewhat higher than normal, natural gas prices increased at many trading points across the country with cooler weather following record-high March temperatures. The Henry Hub price closed at $2.06 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) on April 4, up 2 cents for the week.
At the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the May 2012 natural gas contract fell 14.1 cents per MMBtu for the week, closing April 3 at $2.141 per MMBtu.
Pizza company stocks
Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $70.68, down slightly from $71.18 the previous week. The company hit its 52-week high of $71.79 a week ago, and was trading as low as $47.15 last year.
Domino's closed last Friday at $36.33, up 3 cents from $36.30 the previous week. DPZ hit its 52-week high last month at $42.21. Shares remain substantially higher over this time last year when the company traded at $17.69.
Papa John's closed last week at $37.51, a dip from $37.66 the previous Friday. PZZA hit its 52-week high in February at $40.82. The company hit its 52-week low a year ago when it traded at $26.95.
CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $37.60, from $37.91 the week prior. CEC hit its 52-week low of $25.83 in September. The company hit its 52-week high of $42.75 in July 2011.
Pizza Inn closed Friday at $4.64, down from $4.82 the previous week. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $7.07 in December and traded as low as $1.97 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.