Commodities: Some pizza brands hit 'pot o' gold' in St. Patrick's Day week trading
The "luck of the Irish" was very selective on brands it blessed during St. Patrick's Day week in stock trading last week. Indeed, even commodity prices were a mix of pizza restaurateur blessings and curses last week, as cheese and fuel prices sailed up, wheat prices dropped and natural gas ran the gamut.
Cheese prices continued their ascent last week, ending Friday at $1.59. That's up 2 cents from the previous week's close and up six cents from the start of the month of March.
Wheat prices were 10 to 71 cents lower last week, according to the USDA. Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein rail bid was 19 3/4 cents lower from $5.88 1/2-$6.03 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 70 to 71 cents lower from $4.18-$4.37 per bushel. Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14.0 to 14.5 percent protein rail, was 19 1/4 to 29 1/4 cents lower, from $7.40 1/2-$7.65 1/2 per bushel.
Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was steady to 10 cents lower from $5.40-$5.68 per bushel.
Natural gas spot price movements were mixed for the report week ending Wednesday, March 14. The Henry Hub spot price fell from $2.77 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) last Wednesday to $2.66/MMBtu yesterday, but, on average, the Henry Hub price for the week rose 5 cents, from $2.66/MMBtu last report week to $2.71/MMBtu this report week.
At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), the April 2018 contract price fell 5 cents, from $2.777/MMBtu last Wednesday to $2.731/MMBtu March 14.
Net withdrawals from working gas totaled 93 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending Friday, March 9. Working natural gas stocks are 1,532 Bcf, which is 32 percent lower 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 9 cents, averaging $7.08/MMBtu for the week ending March 14. The price of propane, butane, and isobutane fell by 4, 1 and 2 percent, respectively. The price of ethane rose by 2 percent. The price of natural gasoline remained flat week over week.
According to Baker Hughes, for the week ending Tuesday, March 6, the natural gas rig count increased by seven to 188. The number of oil-directed rigs fell by four to 796. The total rig count now stands at 984.
Pizza company stocks
Traders mixed it up last week for the four national pizza brands monitored by this site. Domino's — which has been sailing up in value in recent weeks — dropped in price over the trading week to close Friday at $229.79, down 47 cents from the previous week's close of $230.26.
Meanwhile, competitor Pizza Hut and its parent company, Yum Brands, bumped up 55 cents in trading price last week to close at $83.50, while Papa John's suffered a value punch, to drop down to a closing value of $59.01 Friday. That's down $2.81 from the previous week's close.
But if there is a success story for the week, it would have to be take-and-bake chain Papa Murphy's, which after weeks of declining value, got a nice shot of adrenaline to close trading Friday at $5.50, up 62 cents from the previous week's close of $4.88.
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.