Commodities: Prices begin to rise, along with temperatures

| by S.A. Whitehead
Commodities: Prices begin to rise, along with temperatures

The annual changing of the seasons has begun. For proof, look no further than commodity prices, many of which tend to rise right along with the mercury. Pizza brand stock prices, however, were a mixed bag last week, with Domino's and Papa Murphy's losing value over the five days of trading. 

Stock prices paid for pizza brands, on the other hand, were a mixed bag last week, with Domino's and Papa Murphy's showing losses in value over the week's transactions. 

Cheese prices edged up over last week, returning to a level this commodity hasn't fetched at market since late last year. On Friday at the closing of trading, cheese averaged $1.56, up six cents from the previous Friday's close of $1.50. 

Wheat was higher last week, with total shipments down 6 percent from last year's low pace. Wheat ran 6 3/4–54 cents higher overall. 

Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein, rail bid was 12 3/4–67 3/4 cents higher, at $6.18 1/2–$6.33 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 52–54 cents higher, at $5.05–$5.18 per bushel. Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14 to 14.5 percent protein, rail, was 6 3/4–46 3/4 cents higher, at $7.54 3/4–$7.94 3/4 per bushel.

Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was 10–33 1/2 cents higher, at $5.40–$5.95 1/2 per bushel.

Vehicle fuel

Natural gas
Natural gas spot prices fell at most locations for the report week ending Wednesday, Feb. 28. The Henry Hub spot price fell from $2.65 per million British thermal units on Feb. 21 to $2.61/MMBtus on the 28th.

At the New York Mercantile Exchange, the March 2018 contract expired last Monday at $2.639/MMBtu. The April 2018 contract price decreased to $2.667/MMBtu, down 1 cent Wednesday-to-Wednesday.

Net withdrawals from working gas totaled 78 billion cubic feet for the week ending Feb. 23. Working natural gas stocks are 1,682 Bcf, which is 29 percent less than the year-ago level and 18 percent lower than the five-year (2013–2017) average for the week.

The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, rose by 41 cents, averaging $7.91/MMBtu for the week ending Feb. 28. Spot prices of natural gasoline, propane, butane, and isobutane rose 3, 8, 5, and 9 percent, respectively. The price of ethane remained flat.

According to Baker Hughes, for the week ending Tuesday, Feb. 20, the natural gas rig count increased by 2 to 179. The number of oil-directed rigs rose by 1 to 799. The total rig count increased by 3, and it now stands at 978.

Pizza company stocks
After last week's healthy gains, Domino's was brought back to reality with a drop of $5.75 in value over the week, closing Friday at $223.10, compared with the previous Friday's close at $228.85. But, Pizza Hut parent Yum Brands saw a slight gain in value, closing at $80.29, up 49 cents from the previous week's close at $79.80. 

Papa John's also got a nice "pick-me-up" last week, gaining $3.46 in value over the course of the trading week to close at $60.66 last Friday. But take-and-bake chain Papa Murphy's continued to drop — albeit just 2 cents over the trading week — to close Friday at $4.84

Photo: iStock

Topics: Cheese, Dough, Financial Management, Financial News

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