Commodities: Last week was 'all mixed up'

| by S.A. Whitehead
Commodities: Last week was 'all mixed up'

For pizza operators, last week was a grab-bag of results on the commodities and stock markets, where prices paid for public brands and essential operational ingredients experienced ups and downs relative to their individual markets.


Cheese prices are on the upward swing again, closing Friday at $1.68. That's a one-week spike of 13 cents, as the average price a week ago was $1.55. 


Wheat was 17 to 34 cents lower on the week.  Weekly export sales for all wheat types were viewed as bearish and showed a total of 13.1 mb (357,500 mt), for the 2017–2018 marketing year.  

Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein rail bid was 31 cents lower at $5.22 1/2–$6.25 1/2 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 28 to 30 cents lower at $5.13–$5.16 per bushel. Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14.0 to 14.5 percent protein rail, was 29 1/2 to 34 1/2 cents lower at $8.24 1/2-$8.59 1/2 per bushel.  Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was 17 1/4 to 23 cents lower at $5.21 3/4–$5.35 per bushel.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

                           Regular       Mid-grade      Premium      Diesel

Current Avg.       $2.252         $2.543           $2.790          $2.443

Yesterday Avg.   $2.253         $2.544           $2.791          $2.443

Week Ago Avg.  $2.263          $2.560           $2.805          $2.445

Month Ago Avg. $2.301          $2.599           $2.844          $2.479

Year Ago Avg.    $2.211          $2.486           $2.723          $2.355

Natural gas

Natural gas spot prices rose at most locations this report week (Wednesday, July 5 to Wednesday, July 12). The Henry Hub spot price rose from $2.90 per million British thermal units last Wednesday to $2.98 per MMBtu yesterday.

At the New York Mercantile Exchange, the August 2017 contract price rose 15 cents from $2.840 per MMBtu last Wednesday to $2.985 per MMBtu yesterday.

Net injections to working gas totaled 57 billion cubic feet for the week ending July 7. Working natural gas stocks are 2,945 Bcf, which is 9 percent less than the year-ago level and 6 percent more than the five-year (2012–2016) average for this week. 

The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, rose 5 cents, averaging $5.85 per MMBtu for the week ending July 12. The price of natural gas fell by 2 percent. The price of ethane, propane, and butane rose by 1, 2, and 1 percent, respectively, while the price of isobutane remained flat week over week.

According to Baker Hughes, for the week ending Friday, July 7, the natural gas rig count increased by 5 to 189. The number of oil-directed rigs rose by 7 to 763. The total rig count increased by 12, and now stands at 952.

Pizza company stocks

Pizza stocks were mixed bag last week. Somewhat uncharacteristically, Domino's suffered a drop of more than $3 over the course of the week's activity, falling from $212.35 on July 10 to $209.21 on July 15. 

Competitor and Pizza Hut parent Yum Brands managed to eke out a penny in value over the trading week, rising to $73.60 from $73.59 the previous week. 

Meanwhile, Papa John's had a nice bump over the course of trading last week, finishing Friday at $75.43, up from $73.87 a week earlier. The news was not so good for take-and-bake pizza brand, Papa Murphy's, which fell nine cents on the week from $4.30 on July 10 to $4.21 on July 15. 


Photo: iStock

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Financial News

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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