Average block cheese prices were steady for the most part last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, coming in at an average of $1.64, up a penny from the previous week.
Prices were $1.70 Monday, $1.66 Tuesday, $1.63 Wednesday, $1.62 Thursday and $1.59 Friday.
Prices averaged more than $2 earlier in March. They've since returned closer to last year's average of $1.63 per pound.
Wheat prices continued to climb last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, coming in at an average of $8.98, up from the previous week's average of $8.71 and two weeks ago, when prices averaged $8.37.
Wheat closed at $8.75 Monday, $8.88 Tuesday, $8.86 Wednesday, $9.23 Thursday and $9.22 Friday. Wheat prices got as high as $9.64 in January.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.66, another incline from the previous week's average, which was $3.58, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Prices remain up from a month ago, when they were $3.49, and from this time last year, when consumers were paying $2.82 at the pump.
Mid-range unleaded currently averages $3.80, while premium unleaded Monday was just above $3.92.
The nationwide average for diesel fuel is $3.98, a slight uptick from $3.96 per gallon last week. Diesel prices also remain up from $3.84 a month ago, and from $2.97 a year ago.
Conflict throughout the Middle East, including Libya, is affecting the oil market, as crude oil is at its highest price - $107.94 a barrel – since September 2008.
A AAA spokesperson told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the unrest, coupled with a better domestic economy ahead of summer driving season, are expected to drive prices even higher.
Cooler-than-normal temperatures helped to briefly lift natural gas cash market prices at nearly all domestic pricing points during the middle of the week, after which general price declines continued. For the week ending March 30, the Henry Hub price rose a token 7 cents per million Btu (MMBtu) (1.7 percent) to $4.25 per MMBtu.
Pizza company stocks
Shares in Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed at $51.40 Friday, a drop from the previous week's closing of $52.12. The company hit its all-time 52-week high last month at $52.58. Yum! traded at a 52-week low of $38.53 in July 2010.
Domino's finished last week at $18.47, the company's 52-week high. The previous week's closing was $18.10. Domino's traded as low as $10.99 in June 2010.
Papa John's stock closed at $31.71, its 52-week high. PZZA closed at $30.25 the previous week. The company traded at a 52-week low of $22.78 in July 2010.
Shares in CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed at $37.41, down slightly from its previous week's closing of $37.53. CEC traded at a 52-week high of $41.79 in April 2010, and a 52-week low of $30.84 in August 2010.
California Pizza Kitchen closed at $16.57 Friday, up a penny from its previous week's closing of $16.56. CPKI traded as high as $22.92 in April 2010, and as low as $13.19 in July 2010.
Pizza Inn turned in at $2.01 Friday, up a penny from its previous week's closing of $2.00. PZZI traded at a 52-week high of $2.20 in April 2010, and a 52-week low of $1.77 in May 2010.
Photo provided by douglemoine.
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.