Commodities: Pizza brands take a beating
Aside from take-and-bake brand Papa Murphy's, whose stock price last week took a hop up, most pizza brands monitored here weekly took a beating in trading. And just to rub salt in the wounds, pizza commodities trading also left restaurateurs with emptier pockets than usual as all the essential staples of the business trended higher.
Cheese barrel prices rallied last week, according to the U.S.D.A. Agricultural Marketing Service, closing the 25-cent price gap with blocks during the period. Sales are mixed nationwide. The service reports that the CME Group closing price for barrels was $1.52, compared to the previous week's close of $1.27.
The closing price for blocks was $1.52, which was even with last week.
Compared to last week, cash bids for wheat were higher. The International Grains Council said Thursday it expects ending wheat stocks in the top eight exporting countries to be down 25 percent in 2018-19. They also expect world wheat production to be down 5 percent during the same period.
The U.S.D.A. also said the previous week's export sales and shipments of wheat totaled 14.2 mb and 15.0 mb, respectively. The sales showed modest improvement from the previous week, but both numbers are well below US.D.A.'s anticipated pace for this year.
Wheat was 10 to 56 cents higher, with Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein rail bid at 37 1/2 cents higher, from $6.19-$6.34 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 32 cents higher, from $5.39-$5.46 per bushel. Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14.0 to 14.5 percent protein rail, was 31 to 56 cents higher, from $7.02 3/4-$7.07 3/4 per bushel. Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was steady to 10 cents higher, from $5.80-$5.95 per bushel.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
Vehicle fuel prices appear to be starting to inch up again after a brief and small decline in previous weeks. For the most part, all grades of gas are about even now with last month or a cent higher, with regular going for $2.86 today, up a cent from last month. Diesel, however, dropped a cent from last month to hover around the $3.15 mark today. All prices are, however, a hefty 50 cents or more higher than this time last year, though diesel is 68 cents higher than last year and E85 is just 43 cents higher than the $1.99 consumers paid last year at this time.
Natural gas spot prices rose at most locations for the seven days ending Wednesday, July 25. The Henry Hub spot price rose from $2.72/MMBtu to $2.77/MMBtu during that period.
At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), the August 2018 contract price rose 5 cents from $2.721/MMBtu to $2.775/MMBtu.
Net injections to working gas totaled 24 Bcf for the week ending July 20. Working natural gas stocks are 2,273 Bcf, which is 24 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 2 cents, averaging $8.66/MMBtu for the week ending July 25. The price of ethane fell by 7 percent. The price of natural gasoline and isobutane both rose by 2 percent, while the price of butane rose by 11 percent. The price of propane remained flat week over week.
According to Baker Hughes, for the week ending Tuesday, July 17, the natural gas rig count decreased by two to 187. The number of oil-directed rigs fell by five to 858. The total rig count decreased by eight, and it now stands at 1,046.
Pizza company stocks
As previously mentioned, last week brutalized three of the four pizza brands monitored by this website weekly when it comes to the stock market. Domino's, which has been on a quite an upward trend, took a punch to the stomach last week when its stock close Friday at $260.70, down $16.41 from the previous week's close.
The news was not as bad for Pizza Hut parent, Yum brands, which dropped 40 cents over the week to close Friday at $78.91. But, for the beleaguered Papa John's brand, the trading week bordered on tragic as that brand's founder, John Schnattter,filed suit against the company over its board's reaction to news earlier in the month that Schnatter had used racial slurs on a media training call in May. For Papa John's, trading closed Friday at a $43.12 stock price, down another $8.44 from the previous week and $33.84 from this time last year before all the events involving Schnatter since then.
But on a brighter note, the smaller take-and-bake chain, Papa Murphy's had something to celebrate last week when it's stock closed up 18 cents at $5.46 Friday.