All eyes on Iraq as gas prices rise

June 23, 2014 | by Alicia Kelso

Gas prices averaged 2 cents more last week, but many analysts expect an even bigger surge this week and beyond as tensions in Iraq heighten. Additionally, relief may be out of the question for now, according to the Denver Post, with a possible increase in the federal gasoline tax on the horizon and the impending hurricane season factored in.

Here's a glimpse at the market this week:


After inching up for the past two weeks on the Chicago Mercantile, average cheese prices dropped slightly last week to $2.02, from $2.04 the week prior.

Last week, prices closed at $2.02 Monday, $2.05 Tuesday, $2.03 Wednesday and $2 even on Thursday and Friday.


The average cost of wheat stayed under $7 for the third week in a row, averaging $6.90, even from the week prior.

Wheat was near the $8 mark a month ago, but remains significantly higher than it was in the beginning of the year, when the cost sat at around $6.02.

Last week, prices closed at $6.80 Monday, $6.83 Tuesday, $6.97 Wednesday, $7.03 Thursday and $6.90 on Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

The nationwide average price for regular unleaded fuel is $3.68, up from $3.66 last week. According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.65.

Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.57 at the pump.

Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.86, up from $3.85 the week prior. Premium gas is $4.03, from $4.02.

Diesel fuel prices are averaging $3.89, even from last week. The price of diesel fuel was $3.92 a month ago, and $3.84 a year ago.

Natural Gas

Natural gas prices posted a slight overall increase during the report week (June 11 – June 18) at most market locations, as temperatures warmed, increasing demand for natural gas that is consumed for electric generation (power burn). The Henry Hub spot price rose from $4.50/MMBtu June 11 to $4.70/MMBtu June 18, its highest level since early May.

At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) the price of the front-month (July 2014) contract rose from $4.508/MMBtu June 11 to $4.659/MMBtu June 18. The price of the 12-month strip also rose, from $4.448/MMBtu June 11 to $4.579/MMBtu June 18.

Pizza company stocks

Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed out last week at $80.50 after hitting a new 52-week high earlier in the day, at $80.74. Its 52-week low was a year ago at $64.08.

Domino's finished last week at $71.80, down from $72.36 the week prior. DPZ hit a new lifetime high in March at $80.61. The company's 52-week low was $55.75 a year ago.

Papa John's shares finished last week at $42.09, down slightly from $42.43 the week prior. PZZA hit its 52-week high in March at $55. Its low of $31.50 was a year ago.

Pizza Inn Holdings closed out last week at $6.15, up slightly from $6.13 the week prior.  The company's 52-week high was $9.09 a year ago. It also traded as low as $5.02 last year.

Papa Murphy's closed out Friday at $9.15, up from $8.58 the week prior in just its second month on the NASDAQ under the FRSH symbol. Its high/low is $12.10 and $8.32, respectively.

Photo provided by Wikipedia.


Topics: Cheese, Domino's Pizza, Equipment & Supplies, Food Cost Management, Papa John's, Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake Pizza, 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. View Alicia Kelso's profile on LinkedIn

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