Tropical Storm Isaac threatens oil production, gas prices

Aug. 27, 2012 | by Alicia Kelso

Tropical Storm Isaac's path is aimed directly at the Gulf of Mexico, and a big chunk of oil rigs in the area have already been shut down to wait it out. This has halted oil production and will likely cause gas prices to continue to rise, with some analysts predicting a jump of 10 cents in a week.

This is on top of the already fragile oil market that has recently been pushed higher from Middle East tensions, refinery problems and the drought.

Wheat and cheese prices both inched up during the past week, as well, while natural gas prices experienced some relief from milder temperatures.


Average block cheese prices slipped to $1.84 last week on the Chicago Mercantile Market, from $1.86 the week prior. Cheese prices are nearly 15 cents higher than they were two weeks ago.

Cheese prices closed at $1.84 Monday, $1.83 Tuesday and Wednesday, and $1.85 Thursday and Friday.


Wheat prices rose slightly last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, averaging $9.30. Prices the week before were $9.14. Wheat averaged $7.49 in early June.

Prices closed at $9.31 Monday, $9.44 Tuesday, $9.41 Wednesday, $9.20 Thursday and $9.18 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.75, up 3 cents from $3.72 last week and an increase of 27 cents from a month ago, according to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices a month ago were at $3.48. Last year, consumers were paying $3.60 at the pump.

Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.89, up from $3.87 the week prior, while today's premium is $4.03, up from $4 even last week.

Diesel fuel prices today are at $4.03, from $3.98 last week. The price of diesel fuel is up from $3.76 a month ago, and from $3.87 a year ago.

Natural gas

Natural gas prices generally registered moderate overall decreases for the report week (Aug. 15 to Aug. 22) at many of the country's trading locations. The Henry Hub price, which had dropped 12 cents per million British thermal units (MMBtu) by Aug. 17, rose on Aug. 20 and Aug. 21, closing at $2.80 per MMBtu Aug. 21 (down 2 cents per MMBtu for the week).

The natural gas futures market trended downward over the first part of the week before rebounding strongly. At the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the September 2012 natural gas contract gained 7.8 cents per MMBtu to close at $2.826 per MMBtu yesterday.

Pizza company stocks

Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $64.03, a drop of more than $2 from $66.10 the week prior. The company hit its 52-week high in May at $74.44. Its 52-week low is $47.15 from a year ago.

Domino's closed last Friday at $35.54, down a bit from $36.05 the week prior. DPZ's 52-week high was $42.21 in April. Shares remain higher over this time last year when the company traded at $25.29.

Papa John's closed last Friday at $51.96, up from $52.15 the week prior. PZZA hit its 52-week high at $56.41 after turning in a strong earnings report last month. The company hit its 52-week low of $27.54 a year ago.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $29.80, a slight drop from $30.08 the week prior. The company's 52-week high was $40.01 a year ago. Its 52-week low was $25.83 in September.

Pizza Inn closed Friday at $3.23, down from $3.60 the previous week. 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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Topics: Cheese , Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza , Domino's Pizza , Equipment & Supplies , Operations Management , Papa John's , Pizza Hut , Pizza Inn

Alicia Kelso / Alicia has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with, and has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, and Franchise Asia magazine.
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