Europe's unstable economy and "fiscal cliff" concerns following the re-election of President Obama and a Republican Congress caused the biggest sell off of the year on Wall Street last week. Public pizza companies were not immune and experienced drops across the board.
The good news, however, is there is finally a relief in cheese prices after many weeks on the rise, and gas prices continue to fall after spiking in the summer and then again in early September.
Average block cheese prices dropped to $2.02 last week on the Chicago Mercantile Market, from $2.11 the week prior.
Prices closed at $2.11 Monday and Tuesday, $1.99 Wednesday and Thursday, and $1.92 on Friday.
Wheat prices jumped to $9.51 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, from $9.39 the week before. Wheat remains nearly $2 higher than it was in the summer, when prices averaged $7.49.
Prices closed at $9.40 Monday, $9.48 Tuesday, $9.59 Wednesday, $9.58 Thursday and $9.50 Friday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.43, down from $3.47 last week.
According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.80. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.43 at the pump.
Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.61, from $3.64 last week, while today's premium gas is $3.76, from $3.79.
Diesel fuel prices fell slightly, averaging $4, from $4.03 last week. The price of diesel fuel is also down from $4.13 last month and up from $3.94 last year.
Natural gas prices increased for the report week (Oct. 31 to Nov. 7) at many of the country's trading locations, particularly the Algonquin Citygate (which serves consumers in Boston), where prices doubled from last week to $8.45 per million British thermal units (MMBtu). The Henry Hub price closed at $3.47 per MMBtu, down 3 cents per MMBtu for the week.
The natural gas futures market trended steadily lower over the week. At the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the December 2012 natural gas contract lost 11 cents per MMBtu to close at $3.578 per MMBtu Nov. 7.
Pizza company stocks
Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $71.14, down from $72.12 the week prior. The company hit its 52-week high in May at $74.44. Its 52-week low is $52.54 from a year ago.
Domino's closed last Friday at $39.84, down from $40.52 the week prior. The company's 52-week high was $42.21 in April. Shares remain higher over this time last year when the company traded at $28.17.
Papa John's closed last Friday at $49.73, down from $50.27 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 $35.21 a year ago.
CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $31.74, a drop from $32.60 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 closed Friday at $2.56, a slight drop from $2.69 the week prior. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $7.07 in December and traded as low as $2.18 a year ago.
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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.