Commodities: September markets cool down for pizza restaurateurs

| by S.A. Whitehead
Commodities: September markets cool down for pizza restaurateurs

The month of September did not start on much of a high note for pizza restaurateurs, with mostly falling stock prices for the brands monitored by this site, and higher-trending commodity prices on just about all the essentials, aside from a couple of wheat varieties. 


Cheese prices opened last week strong, up a full 5 cents on the first day after a close of $1.59 on Sept. 1. Tuesday, prices took another leap to $1.64 and that is where the price of the commodity remained for the remainder of the week, closing Friday at the same $1.64 price. 


According to the U.S.D.A., renewed buying interest from the weaker U.S. dollar index is expected to be seen in wheat, with the outlook for long-term commercial winter wheat remaining extremely bearish. Last week, sales and shipments for wheat could be viewed as neutral to bearish with 13.8 mb and 8.3 mb, respectively for the 2017-2018 marketing year.

Last week, wheat was mixed overall, though mostly 4 to 8 cents higher. Kansas City U.S. $4.31 3/4-$5.56 3/4 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 4 to 7 cents higher from $4.17-$4.22 per bushel.  

Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14.0 to 14.5 percent protein rail, was 3/4 cents lower to 4 1/4 cents higher from $7.24 3/4-$7.29 3/4 per bushel. Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was steady to 8 cents higher from $4.90-$5.20 per bushel.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Prices for vehicle fuel continue to rise and are doing so fairly rapidly, with today's average for regular at $2.67, up 3 cents from last week, but a full 31 cents from just last month. And for perspective on how this compares with last year, the average for regular on Sept. 11, 2016 was just $2.18 a gallon. 

To add insult to this petro-pocketbook injury, the prices for higher grades and diesel are rising even a bit more rapidly, with mid-grade fuel at $2.92 today, up 7 cents from last week and premium was $3.16 this morning, up from $2.88 this time last month.

Finally, diesel fuel is also rising though not as rapidly, with the average price today at $2.71, up from $2.53 last month and $2.36 last year at this time. 

Natural gas

Natural gas spot price movements were mixed this report week (Wednesday, Aug. 30 to Wednesday, Sept. 6). The Henry Hub spot price rose from $2.86 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) last Wednesday to $2.93/MMBtu yesterday. 

At the New York Mercantile Exchange, the October 2017 contract price rose 6 cents from $2.939/MMBtu last Wednesday to $3.000/MMBtu yesterday. 

Net injections to working gas totaled 65 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending Sept. 1. Working natural gas stocks are 3,220 Bcf, which is 6 percent less than the year-ago level and slightly higher than the five-year (2012–16) average for this week.

The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, rose by 16 cents, averaging $7.10/MMBtu for the week ending Sept. 6. The price of ethane fell by 5 percent. The price of natural gasoline, propane, butane, and isobutane rose by 3, 5, 4 and 3 percent, respectively.

Pizza company stocks

Most pizza restaurateurs got a chilly welcome to the markets for September, with all but one of the brands monitored by this site dropping in value over the week. That one gainer was Domino's Pizza, which saw its stock climb in value from $183.60 on Sept. 1 to last Friday's closing value of $186.43.

But for Pizza Hut parent, Yum Brands as well as Papa John's and Papa Murphy's the story had a much more disappointing ending last week. Yum was down 14 cents in trading last Friday to $76.48. Papa John's also took a hit in trading last week, with the brand falling to $72.54 at the close of trading, off $1.83 from the previous week's close of $74.37.  

And lastly, Papa Murphy's fell as well in value last week, from $5.31 on Sept. 1 to $5.24 last Friday. 

Photo: iStock

Topics: Financial News

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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