Commodities: Patriots aren't the only ones licking their wounds today

| by S.A. Whitehead
Commodities: Patriots aren't the only ones licking their wounds today

The end-of-week stock market plummet Friday took no prisoners, affecting all the pizza brands monitored here weekly with notable losses in value. The same cannot be said, though, for overall commodities trading last week, which ended up being a mixed bag of ups and downs.

And speaking of downs, that's where cheese prices continued to go last week, falling to an average of $1.46 by week's end, continuing the downward trend that started two weeks ago. In fact, there was not much more than a half-a-cent difference in the trading price for this necessity over the entire trading week. 

Compared to last week, cash bids for wheat were running anywhere from 11/2 to 32 cents higher over the course of trading last week. Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein rail bid, led the pack trending 30 to 32 cents higher, from $5.52-$6.47 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 29 cents higher, from $4.51-$4.66 per bushel. Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14.0 to 14.5 percent protein rail, was 1 1/2 to 11 1/2 cents higher, from $7.16 3/4-$7.21 3/4 per bushel. Portland U.S. Soft white wheat rail was 3 to 12 cents higher, from $5.33-$5.44 per bushel.

Vehicle fuel

Natural gas
Natural gas spot prices fell at most locations for the week ending Jan. 31. The Henry Hub spot price fell from $3.56 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) last Wednesday to $3.21/MMBtu yesterday.

At the New York Mercantile Exchange, the February 2018 contract expired Monday at $3.631/MMBtu. The March 2018 contract price decreased to $2.995/MMBtu yesterday, down 9 cents in a week's span.

Net withdrawals from working gas totaled 99 billion cubic feet (Bcf) on Jan. 26. Working natural gas stocks are 2,197 Bcf, which is 19 percent less than the year-ago level and 16 percent lower than the five-year (2013-17) average for this week.

The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, fell by 25 cents, averaging $7.73/MMBtu for the week ending Jan. 31. The price of ethane, propane, and butane fell by 1, 7 and 6 percent, respectively. The price of natural gasoline and isobutane both rose by 1 percent.

According to Baker Hughes, for the week ending Tuesday, Jan. 23, the natural gas rig count decreased by one to 188. The number of oil-directed rigs rose by 12 to 759. The total rig count increased by 11, and it now stands at 947.

Pizza company stocks
It was a week to cry in your pie, not just for Patriots' fans, but for pizza brands, which ended up, like most stocks, down on Friday at the close. Domino's Pizza, after adding a nice chunk of change the previous Friday's close, this past Friday ended up losing most of its gains to close at $214.38, down $2.40 on the week. 

The parent of competitor Pizza Hut, Yum Brands, Inc. wrapped up the week at $82.63, down from $86.20, and even lower than two weeks ago at the close when the brand was going for $83.31.

And after finally continuing to grow again in value, Papa John's also suffered in the stock market carnage Friday, closing at $61.17, down from the previous week's close of $65.39. Likewise, a brand that has been consistently losing value in recent weeks, Papa Murphy's, continued to do so Friday, closing at $5.18, down from the previous week's closing value of $5.34.

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Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Cheese, Delivery, Dough, Financial News, Operations Management

Companies: Papa John's, Papa Murphy's, Pizza Hut, 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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