Commodities: Pizza stocks take a tumble

| by S.A. Whitehead
Commodities: Pizza stocks take a tumble

The week before Easter found pizza operators with little to celebrate as stock values for the four brands monitored by this site continued their downward trend, and with the exception of cheese, there was little in the way of relief in prices for commodities. 


Cheese prices continued to decline slightly, as they have since the start of the month when the average cost of this essential pie-making ingredient peaked at $1.53. The value has continued to drop since that date.


Compared to last week, grain bids were mostly higher. Remaining among the highest in 30 years is the U.S.ending stocks-to-use ratio for wheat. Winter wheat crop ratings this year are lower than a year ago in the southwestern Plains and are helping wheat prices hold above their March low.  

Weekly export sales for wheat came in at 20.1 mb (546,900 mt) with 15.5 mb (421,600 mt) for the 2016-2017 marketing year.  Wheat was steady to mostly 9 cents higher.  

Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein rail bid was 7 1/4 to 9 1/4 cents higher from $4.10 1/4-$4.77 1/4 per bushel. Kansas City U.S. No. 
2 Soft Red winter rail bid was not quoted.  

St. Louis truck U.S. No. 2 Soft Red Winter terminal bid was 6 to 8 cents higher from $4.09-$4.35 per bushel. Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14.0 to 14.5 percent protein rail, was 3 1/2 to 28 1/2 cents higher at $6.10 1/4 per bushel. Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was steady to 6 1/2 cents higher from $4.49 3/4-$4.80 per bushel.

Gas and Diesel
The average paid this morning for a gallon of regular was $2.41, up a couple of cents from last week, 12 cents from last month and 30 cents from last year. Mid-grade and premium told the same story, with the average price paid for a gallon of mid-grade gas this morning at $2.67 and a gallon of premium went for $2.91. 

Prices paid for diesel fuel have risen even more dramatically over the last year, currently averaging about $2.53 a gallon, up from $2.12 this time last year. 

Natural gas

Prices generally saw steady decreases over the week as weather forecasts turned warmer. These decreases were in many cases a reversal of temperature-related increases seen in the previous week. This report week (Wednesday, April 5 to Wednesday, April 12), the Henry Hub spot price fell 22 cents, from $3.21/MMBtu last Wednesday to $2.99/MMBtu yesterday. 

Net injections to working gas totaled 10 Bcf for the week ending April 7. Working natural gas stocks are 2,061 Bcf, which is 17 percent lower than the year-ago level and 15 percent higher than the five-year (2012–16) average for this week.

The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, rose by 31 cents, averaging $6.36/MMBtu for the week ending April 12. The price of ethane, propane, butane, and isobutane all rose by 5, 6, 8  and 7 percent, respectively. The price of natural gasoline remained flat week over week.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released its short-term energy outlook, which forecasts that Henry Hub spot prices will average $3.04/MMBtu for the second quarter of 2017 (April, May, and June), and $3.10/MMBtu for 2017 as a whole. 

Working natural gas in storage as of March 31 -- the traditional end of the heating season -- totaled 2,051 billion cubic feet (Bcf), according to the Energy Information Administration.  Although this total is 15 percent higher than the five-year (2012-16) end-of-season average, stocks were 17 percent lower than last year's record end-of-season high. Net withdrawals over the heating season (starting November 1, 2016) were 78 Bcf less than the five-year average and 485 Bcf more than withdrawals last year.

Pizza stocks
There was very little joy in pizza-ville this past week when all four of the brands monitored by this website lost value over the course of the trading week, beginning with Domino’s Pizza. The international brand closed trading Friday at $174.21, down from the previous week’s close of $175.16. Multi-brand company and Pizza Hut parent, Yum Brands, also dropped off a bit of a cliff last week, closing Friday at $63.79, down 49 cents from the previous week’s close. 

Fellow Louisville-based pizza brand, Papa John’s suffered a similar decline over that week-long period, closing Friday at $78.61, down from $79.55 the previous Friday. In fact, even the recent rising star, Papa Murphy’s suffered a loss of value over last week’s trading, ending the week at $5.66, down 9 cents from the previous Friday’s close of $5.75. 

Photo: iStock

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Cheese, Dough, Equipment & Supplies, Financial Management, Financial News

Companies: Papa John's, Papa Murphy's, Yum! Brands, Domino's

S.A. Whitehead

Award-winning veteran print and broadcast journalist, Shelly Whitehead, has spent most of the last 30 years reporting for TV and newspapers, including the former Kentucky and Cincinnati Post and a number of network news affiliates nationally. She brings her cumulative experience as a multimedia storyteller and video producer to the web-based pages of and after a lifelong “love affair” with reporting the stories behind the businesses that make our world go ‘round. Ms. Whitehead is driven to find and share news of the many professional passions people take to work with them every day in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industry. She is particularly interested in the growing role of sustainable agriculture and nutrition in food service worldwide and is always ready to move on great story ideas and news tips.

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