Gas prices fell slightly after two weeks on the rise, just ahead of busy travel season.
Meanwhile, in commodities news:
Average block cheese prices fell to $1.75 last week on the Chicago Mercantile, from $1.77 the week prior and $1.86 two weeks ago.
Cheese remains lower than the $2.10 average at the end of 2012.
Cheese markets closed at $1.77 Monday, $1.76 Tuesday and Wednesday, and $1.75 on Thursday and Friday.
After a few weeks on the rise, wheat prices fell for the second week in a row, averaging $8.11, from $8.24 the week prior on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange.
Wheat averaged $7.81 in early April. 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 $8.11 Monday, $8.13 Tuesday, $8.07 Wednesday, $8.13 Thursday and $8.05 Friday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
After two weeks on the rise, nationwide average prices for regular unleaded fuel has tempered a bit. Monday's average price was $3.63, down from $3.66 last week.
According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.50. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.64 at the pump.
Monday's mid-range unleaded was $3.81, from $3.83 last week. Premium gas was $3.95, from $3.97.
Diesel fuel prices held steady at $3.88 for the third week in a row. The price of diesel fuel was also $3.88 a month ago, and $3.94 a year ago.
Natural gas spot prices increased at most trading locations during the report week (May 15–May 22). The Henry Hub spot price increased from $4.03 per million British thermal unit (MMBtu) May 15 to $4.16 per MMBtu May 22.
At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), the price of the near-month (June 2013) natural gas futures contract increased from $4.070 per MMBtu May 15 to $4.186 per MMBtu May 22.
Pizza company stocks
Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $69.30, from $70.16 the week prior. The company's 52-week low was in early February at $59.68. The company's 52-week high was $74.75 in November.
Domino's finished at $59.21, up from $57.57 the week prior. For the fourth week in a row, Domino's hit another 52-week high at $59.45. Its low was in June at $28.17. Analysts attribute the 52-week highs to better-than-expected Q1 results, international expansions, increasing global demand and effective pricing.
Papa John's closed last week at $63.23, down from $65.71 the week prior. PZZA turned in a new 52-week high earlier this month at $66.85. The company hit its 52-week low of $45.19 a year ago.
CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $39.25, up from $39.12 the week prior. CEC hit a new 52-week high of $40.09 two weeks ago, riding a positive earnings report. The company's 52-week low was in August at $28.23.
Pizza Inn closed out last week at $4.93, down from $5.91 the week prior. PZZI hit a new 52-week high earlier this month, at $9.18, after announcing a new franchise plan. The company traded as low as $2.18 in June.
Photo provided by Wikipedia.
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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.