Public pizza companies finished strong last week, including Yum! Brands, with shares up more than $10 since early February when the company was reeling from its China supply chain crisis.
Average block cheese prices averaged $1.60 last week on the Chicago Mercantile, a slight increase from $1.57 the week prior, which was the lowest average since May 2012.
Cheese prices jumped to above $2.10 toward the end of the year, but have since fallen steadily.
Cheese markets closed at $1.60 Monday through Thursday, and $1.61 on Friday.
Wheat prices fell to $8.01 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, from $8.05 last week. Two weeks ago, wheat dropped below $8 ($7.96) for the first time in months.
Wheat averaged $9.13 at the end of 2012. Prices during the mid-summer 2012 averaged $7.49, before the drought kicked in.
Last week, wheat closed at $8.11 Monday, $8 even Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and $7.96 on Friday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
After months on an upswing, gas prices slid downward for the third week in a row. Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.68, a penny lower than last week's price of $3.69.
According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were also $3.68. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.83 at the pump.
Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.85, also down a penny from $3.86 last week and from $3.91 two weeks ago. Premium gas is $4.00, from $4.01 last week.
Diesel fuel prices have also dropped, averaging $4.05 this week, from $4.09 last week and $4.12 two weeks ago. The price of diesel fuel is also down from $4.11 last month and from $4.13 a year ago.
Natural gas prices at major trading hubs increased moderately for the report week (March 6-13). Henry Hub prices increased from $3.57 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) March 6 to $3.72 per MMBtu March 13, while natural gas prices at Algonquin Citygate, for delivery into Boston increased from $7.77 per MMBtu to $8.69 per MMBtu.
The April 2013 New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) contract increased by 21 cents, from $3.470 per MMBtu March 6 to close at $3.680 per MMBtu March 13.
Pizza company stocks
Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. jumped again last week to close at $69.85, from $67.25 the week prior and $65.48 two weeks ago. Yum! continues to recover from its China supply chain "crisis" earlier this year. 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 $49.96, up a bit from $49.66 the week before. DPZ is riding a strong Q4 earnings report which led to a fresh 52-week-high of $50.19 on March 6. Shares in June were traded at $28.17.
Papa John's continues to recover after missing Q4 expectations earlier this month. It closed at $60.98, up from $59.56 the week prior and $52.01 two weeks ago. PZZA hit a new 52-week high on Wednesday at $61.36. The company hit its 52-week low of $36.56 a year ago.
CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $32.08, up from $31.74 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 closed out last week at $3.83, a jump from $3.41 the week prior. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $4.90 in March 2012 and traded as low as $2.18 in June.
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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.