Commodities: Prices rise for operating essentials, but so do stock values
Pain at the pump for most Americans these days, is accompanied by pain at the commodities market for pizza restaurateurs in the U.S., with the price of most of the essentials needed to run a great pizza operation pushing higher last week. But the silver lining to this cloud — for all but one brand monitored by this website — is that most pizza brands also took a healthy forward leap in stock value last week.
Cheese prices Friday rebounded to their month-ago levels, returning to an average of $1.60. That's up 7 cents from a week ago, and 10 cents higher than the lowest daily closing price for the past month.
Grain markets were heavily influenced by world politics last week, according to the USDA Missouri Department of Agriculture Market News. After China announced that it would place tariffs on U.S. goods being imported, some grain markets took heavy losses.
Markets were able to recover most of those setbacks later in the week, only to be hit by additional tariffs threats against China overnight by U.S.
Still, May Kansas City wheat was able to shrug off this bearish news, and closed 12 1/2 cents higher, influenced by drought concerns in the southwest plains.
Last week's export sales and shipments of wheat totaled 4 million and 15.7 million bushels, respectively, yet again another bearish total. Wheat overall was mixed, from 8 3/4 cents lower to 31 1/4 cent higher. Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein, rail bid was 31 1/4 cents higher, at $5.68 1/2 to $5.83 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 13 to 18 cents higher, at $4.59 to $4.76 per bushel. Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14.0 to 14.5 percent protein rail, was 8 3/4 cents lower to 1 1/4 cents higher, at $7.14 3/4 to $7.34 3/4 per bushel. Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was steady to 15 3/4 cents higher, at $5.40 to $5.81 3/4 per bushel.
Natural gas spot prices rose at most locations for the seven days, ending April 4. The Henry Hub spot price rose from $2.64 per million British thermal units to $2.77/MMBtu over that same period.
At the New York Mercantile Exchange, the May 2018 contract price rose 2 cents, from $2.698/MMBtu to $2.718/MMBtu. Net withdrawals from working gas totaled 29 billion cubic feet for the week ending March 30.
Working natural gas stocks are 1,354 Bcf, which is 34 percent lower than the year-ago level and 20 percent lower than the five-year (2013–2017) average for the week.
The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, fell by 21 cents, averaging $7.25/MMBtu for seven days, ending April 4. The price of natural gasoline, propane, butane, and isobutane fell by 5, 3, 6 and 5 percent, respectively while the price of ethane rose by 4 percent.
According to Baker Hughes, on March 27, the natural gas rig count increased by four over a week's time to 194. The number of oil-directed rigs fell by seven to 797. The total rig count fell by two, and now stands at 993.
Pizza company stocks
There were big gainers and big losers this week in the pizza game on Wall Street, with Papa John's taking a nice long jump in value, while Papa Murphy's hit a pretty substantial value snag over the trading week.
Global pizza powerhouse Domino's got a vote of confidence from traders last week, closing up $4.81 from the previous week to end Friday at $231.46. Pizza Hut parent Yum Brands was also feeling the love, closing Friday at $84.46, up from the previous week's ending price of $81.68.
But Papa John's got some of the best lift last week, seeing its stock value soar $5.49 from the previous week's close, ending Friday at $62.12. But similarly named Papa Murphy's take-and-bake chain had anything but a similar week on NASDAQ last week, falling to $5.01 Friday from $5.46 at the previous week's close.
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 Pizzamarketplace.com and QSRweb.com 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.