Public pizza companies rode another wave of Wall Street highs last week, a recurring narrative throughout most of 2013. Papa John's reached a new annual high, while Domino's and Pizza Hut closed out last week more than a dollar higher than the week prior.
Meanwhile, wheat prices fell another dime. To put wheat's dropping prices into perspective; a year ago they averaged around $9. They are now around $6.50.
Cheese prices continued to climb last week on the Chicago Mercantile, averaging $2, up from $1.96 the week prior and $1.89 two weeks ago.
Last week, prices closed at $2 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The market was closed Wednesday to observe the Christmas holiday.
Wheat prices continued to fall last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange and are at their lowest level in years, averaging $6.39, down a dime from $6.49 the week prior.
Wheat was more than $7.50 two months ago.
Prices closed at $6.44 on Monday, $6.40 Tuesday, $6.38 Thursday and $6.34 on Friday. The market was closed on Wednesday for the Christmas holiday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
To end the busy holiday travel week, the nationwide average price for regular unleaded fuel today is $3.31, up from $3.25 the week prior. According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.27.
Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.29 at the pump.
Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.49, up from $3.43 the week prior. Premium gas is $3.66, $3.60 last week.
Diesel fuel prices are averaging $3.86, a 2-cent increase from $3.84 the week prior. The price of diesel fuel was $3.84 a month ago and $3.91 last year.
Following three weeks of weather-driven increases, natural gas spot prices decreased slightly at most trading locations in the country. However, the Henry Hub spot price increased slightly, from $4.24/MMBtu Dec. 11 to $4.26/MMBtu Dec. 18.
At the New York Mercantile Exchange, the January 2014 contract declined from $4.337/MMBtu Dec. 11 to $4.251/MMBtu Dec. 18, ending five consecutive weeks of increases in the front-month contract price.
Pizza company stocks
Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed out last week at $74.11, a jump from $72.75 the week prior. The company hit a new 52-week high last month, at $78.68. Its 52-week low was in early February, at $59.68.
Domino's finished last week at $70.68, up $2 even from $68.68 the week prior. DPZ hit a new 52-week high earlier this month, at $71.17. Its 52-week low was $42.38 a year ago.
Papa John's shares finished last week at $90.92, up nearly $3 from $87.60 the week prior. PZZA hit a new 52-week high earlier in the week at $92.23. Its 52-week low was $49.88 a year ago.
CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $44.15, up from $43.65 the week prior. The company's 52-week-high was last month at $48.30. Its annual low was a year ago at $28.95.
Pizza Inn Holdings closed out last week at $8.22, up from $7.92 the week prior. The company's 52-week-high was $9.18 in May. It traded as low as $3.03 a year ago.
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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.