Commodities: Stock values rebound, supply prices flatten

| by S.A. Whitehead
Commodities: Stock values rebound, supply prices flatten

The bottom line improved last week for pizza restaurateurs as stock prices for four major brands rebounded in value, and commodity prices either fell or remained flat. 

Cheese prices fell slightly at the close of trading last Friday, when the price was just under $1.69, down a cent from the previous Friday's close when cheese sold for just under $1.70. 

Wheat trading was mixed last week, ranging from 30 cents lower to 10 cents higher.  

Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein rail bid was 2 to 7 cents lower from $4.50 1/4 to $5.40 1/4 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 3 to 7 cents higher from $4.17 to $4.21 per bushel.  

Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14.0 to 14.5 percent protein rail, was 10 3/4 to 30 3/4 cents lower from $6.38 1/2 to $6.78 1/2 per bushel.  Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was 3 1/2 to 10 cents higher from $4.66 to $4.67 per bushel.

Gasoline and diesel fuel
Aside from diesel fuel, the cost of all other grades of gasoline dropped slightly over the course of the week and month, but still remain far above year-ago rates. Diesel fuel moved in the other direction, however, rising slightly over the last month, but again, still substantially higher than prices a year ago for the same fuel. 

This morning regular was coming in at $2.27, down from $2.31 last week and $2.32 last month. Mid-grade went for $2.55 this morning and premium was $2.79, both down from last week and last month. Compared to last year at this time, mid-grade and regular fuel now stand at about 47 cents higher a gallon, while premium fuel is 74 cents higher now. 

Diesel fuel is cutting its own path in prices lately, selling for $2.51 a gallon this morning, which is down slightly from last week and up 3 cents from last month. Here too, however, the price is decidedly higher this year than last when we paid just $2.05 a gallon for this fuel. 

Natural gas
Natural gas spot prices were mixed this report week (Wednesday, Jan. 18 to Wednesday, Jan. 25). The Henry Hub spot price remained flat at $3.25 per million British thermal units (MMBtu).

At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), the February 2017 contract rose 3 cents from $3.302/MMBtu last Wednesday to $3.332/MMBtu yesterday.

Net withdrawals from working gas in storage totaled 119 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending Jan. 20. Working natural gas stocks are 2,798 Bcf, which is 11 percent less than the year-ago level and 1 percent less than the five-year (2012–16) average for this week.

The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, fell by 13 cents, closing at $6.63/MMBtu for the week ending Jan. 20. The price of natural gasoline and ethane fell by 4 and 12 percent, respectively. The price of propane and isobutane both rose by 2 percent. The price of butane remained flat week over week.

According to Baker Hughes, for the week ending Friday, Jan. 20, the natural gas rig count increased by 6 to 142. The number of oil-directed rigs rose by 29 to 551. The total rig count climbed by 35, and it now stands at 694.

Pizza company stocks
Last week bore some better news for pizza stocks than the previous one during which all four of the brands monitored by this website took substantial hits over five trading days. 

This week, however, all brands were back up, with Domino's closing Friday at $172.02, up from $167.68 at the opening bell on Monday. Similarly, Pizza Hut parent, Yum Brands, closed Friday at $65.90, up substantially from Monday's $64.33 opening price. 

Papa John's also had a nice week, rising from $75.35 at the open Monday to $84.30 at the close on Friday. Finally, Papa Murphy's also made a slight gain in value last week, closing at $4.47, up 15 cents from the opening price Monday of $4.32. 

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, 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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