Wheat prices continue to tumble, closing out last week close to $8 even. Gas prices, however, are still rising, though some experts believe it has peaked as crude oil costs flatten out.
Average block cheese prices dropped slightly last week on the Chicago Mercantile, averaging $1.64 from $1.66 the week prior. Cheese prices remain down from the beginning of the year, when they averaged $1.76.
Cheese markets closed at $1.67 Monday, $1.66 Tuesday, $1.64 Wednesday, $1.63 Thursday and $1.62 on Friday.
Wheat prices continue to tumble and averaged $8.10 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, from $8.21 the week prior. Wheat prices averaged $9.13 at the end of 2012. Still, prices remain significantly higher than the summer of 2012, before the drought's effects kicked in. Wheat averaged $7.49 in the early part of the summer.
Last week, wheat closed at $8.15 Tuesday, $8.20 Wednesday, $8.06 Thursday and $8.02 on Friday. The market was closed Monday for President's Day.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.77, another increase from $3.73 the week prior and more than 40 cents higher than the end of January. According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.34. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.68 at the pump.
Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.93, up from $3.88 last week. Premium gas is $4.08, up from $4.03 last week.
Diesel fuel prices are currently $4.14, from $4.12 last week. The price of diesel fuel is also up from $3.90 last month and from $4.01 a year ago.
Natural gas prices were up modestly for most pricing points across the report week (Feb. 13-Feb. 20). The Henry Hub closed at $3.34 per million British thermal unit (MMBtu) Feb. 20, up 6 cents per MMBtu for the week. The exceptions were trading points in the Northeast which either remained elevated or saw significant price rises.
The March 2013 New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) contract decreased slightly, from $3.306 per MMBtu Feb. 13 to $3.279 per MMBtu Feb. 20. The near-month Nymex price ended the report week 6 cents per MMBtu below the Henry Hub price.
Pizza company stocks
Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. jumped to $65.45 on Friday, from $63.89 the week prior. Yum! is recovering from the effects of a weaker-than-expected Q4 earnings report from the beginning of the month. The company's 52-week high was $74.75 in November. It hit a new 52-week low of $59.68 on Feb. 5.
Domino's closed last Friday at $46.07, a climb from $44.79 the week prior. The company hit its 52-week high on Feb. 1 at $47.91. Shares in June were traded at $28.17.
Papa John's closed out last week at $56.57, a jump from $53.97 the week prior. PZZA hit its 52-week high at $56.94 in late January. The company hit its 52-week low of $36.26 a year ago.
Following its fourth quarter earnings report, CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $31.18, a slight drop from $32.78 the week prior. CEC hit its 52-week high a year ago at $39.72. Its 52-week low was in August at $28.23.
Pizza Inn inched up a penny to $3.22 on Friday, from $3.21 the week prior. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $5.08 in March 2012 and traded as low as $2.18 in June.
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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.