Commodities: Most brands rebound
Aside from the beleaguered Papa John's brand, last week saw gains for pizza restaurateurs in trading, making up some of the losses of the previous week's investors activity. Pizza restaurant commodities also remained fairly decent in price last week, aside from some increases in the prices paid for natural gas.
The U.S.D.A. Agricultural Marketing Service reports that U.S. pizza cheese producers are now preparing for college and football season, even as some specialty cheese producers in the Midwest are shaving production as they enter their traditionally slower season.
Last Friday, barrels closed at $1.4750, while 40-pound blocks went for $1.5875. The weekly average for barrels was off $0.0005 at $1.435, while blocks were up $0.0260, averaging $1.5440.
Compared to last week, cash bids for wheat were mixed. Total 2018-19 wheat shipments were kept down 38 percent from a year ago, far from the 8 percent gain the U.S.D.A. expects by the end of the season.
Last week, wheat ranged from 22 1/4 cents lower to 35 1/4 cents higher. Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein rail bid was 35 1/4 cents higher from $6.54 1/4-$6.69 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 17 to 21 cents higher, from $5.60-$5.63 per bushel. Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14.0 to 14.5 percent protein rail, was 22 1/4 cents lower from $6.80 1/2-$6.85 1/2 per bushel. Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was steady to 13 cents higher, from $5.80-$6.08 per bushel.
As demand for gas in the U.S. nears a record high, AAA this morning reports that the average price of regular has remained fairly flat over the last month, coming in this morning around $2.865, essentially unchanged from last month's price of $2.866.
Mid-grade and premium gasoline both gain about a cent in value over the last month to settle in this morning at $3.159 for mid-grade and $3.411 for premium. All those grades, however, are costing us more than 50 cents a gallon more than they did last year at this time.
Diesel has fluctuated very little in the last month but is generally around 65 cents higher this year than last at an average of $3.153 today, while E85 at $2.431 today is up a cent from last month and 44 cents from this time last year.
Natural gas spot prices rose at most locations during the seven days ending Wednesday, Aug. 1. Henry Hub spot prices rose from $2.77 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) last to $2.80/MMBtu over that period.
At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), the August 2018 contract expired Friday at $2.822/MMBtu. The September 2018 contract price remained unchanged from over the seven days that ended last Wednesday, coming in at $2.758/MMBtu.
Net injections into working gas totaled 35 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending July 27. Working natural gas stocks are 2,308 Bcf, which is 23 percent lower than the year-ago level and 20 percent lower than the five-year (2013-17) average for this week.
The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, rose by 38 cents, averaging $9.04/MMBtu for the seven days ending last Wednesday. The prices of propane and butane both rose by 6 percent, and the prices of natural gasoline, ethane, and isobutane rose by 3, 1 and 5 percent, respectively.
According to Baker Hughes, for the week ending Tuesday, July 24, the natural gas rig count decreased by one to 186. The number of oil-directed rigs rose by three to 861. The total rig count increased by two, and it now stands at 1,048.
Pizza company stocks
The Domino's Pizza brand regained a lot of its losses from the previous week's stock trading, sailing up from the previous Friday's close of $260.70 to close last Friday at $279.50.
The smiles at that brand were echoed in the faces of leadership at Pizza Hut parent, Yum Brands, where the rebound rule was also in effect on the trading floor last week. The company closed up nearly $3 on the week, at $81.86 Friday. Papa Murphy's also continued forward movement as the value of that stock grew 4 cents on the week to $5.50.
In fact, the only loser of the brands monitored here weekly was — as you might have guessed — the long-beleaguered Papa John's stock, which fell in value yet again last week, closing at $42.29, down 83 cents from the previous Friday's close.