Weak demand sends gas prices tumbling

Nov. 27, 2011 | by Alicia Kelso


Average block cheese prices experienced some relief last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, dropping to $1.81 from the previous week's average of $1.95.

Cheese reached its 3-month high of $2 on Nov. 15, but continues to drop on slowing demand.

Cheese prices closed at $1.83 Monday, $1.83 Tuesday and $1.78 Wednesday. The exchange was closed Thursday and Friday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.


Wheat prices tumbled to $8.54 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, down from $9.26 the previous week. The multi-month low was the result of a downturn in China's manufacturing sector and the European debt crisis pushing fears over global growth.

Wheat closed at $8.96 Monday, $8.60 Tuesday, $8.35 Wednesday and $8.27 Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Gas prices continue to fall on weak demand and are at their lowest level since February. Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $$3.29, down 6 cents from $3.35 last week, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices are also down from $3.44 a month ago, but remain up from this time last year, when consumers were paying $2.86 at the pump.

Mid-range unleaded is $3.44, down slightly from $3.49 last week, while today's premium unleaded price is $3.57, down from $3.63.

Diesel fuel prices also got a break after a few weeks on the rise, averaging $3.96 as compared to $3.98 last week. The price of diesel fuel is up from last month's $3.72, and from this time last year when it cost $3.18.

Natural gas

A confluence of unsupportive market conditions served to undermine gas prices at all pricing points during the week. The Henry Hub spot price closed down 44 cents for the week to $3.11 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) on Nov. 16.

Pizza company stocks

Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $52.72, a drop from $53.84 the previous week. The company hit its 52-week high in August when shares were $56.72. Yum! traded as low as $46.40 in January.

Domino's closed last Friday at $30.51, down from $32.50 the previous week. DPZ hit its 52-week high in early November, at $33.33. Shares remain substantially higher over this time last year when the company traded at $13.98 in November 2010.

Papa John's closed last week at $35.50, down from $36.36 the previous week. PZZA hit its 52-week high earlier in the week, at $36.78. PZZA's 52-week low was last November when it reached $25.00.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $32.35, a drop from $33.58 the previous Friday. CEC hit its 52-week low of $27.42 in September. The company hit its 52-week high of $41.75 in July.

Pizza Inn closed at $5.30 Friday, down slightly from $5.43 the previous week. PZZI hit its 52-week high earlier this month, at $6. PZZI traded as low as $1.88 in November 2010.

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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 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.
View Alicia Kelso's profile on LinkedIn

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