Commodities: Supply prices up, stock prices mixed

| by S.A. Whitehead
Commodities: Supply prices up, stock prices mixed

It got more expensive to stock the shelves for pizza restaurateurs last week, since the cost of all commodities trended upward, aside from cheese prices, which are steadily falling. Gas and natural gas are, of course, are in their annual cold weather ascent, although forecasters say as we approach the official start of winter, temperatures globally are substantially higher than they were just five years ago,up five degrees on average and two degrees from last year. For most pizza brands, however, this news was balanced by the stock market, in which most saw increases in share value over the week. 

Cheese prices are in free fall, dropping a dime in one week alone to close the week at $1.71. That's below the prices paid at the start of November for this pizza essential. 

Weekly export sales and shipments for wheat totaled 18.5 and 20.4 Mb, respectively. This is bullish news for wheat. Wheat was 17 cents lower to 13 cents higher.  
Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein rail bid was one cent lower to one cent higher, from $4.01 3/4 to $4.91 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 13 cents higher from $3.88 to $3.93 per bushel. Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14.0 to 14.5 percent protein rail, was 17 1/2 cents lower to 2 1/2 cents higher from $6.41 to $6.61 per bushel. Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was 2 to 12 3/4 cents higher from $4.53 ¼ to $4.77 per bushel.

Gasoline and diesel fuel
We're paying more for every grade of gasoline, compared to last year and even last month at this time. The average price for regular this morning was $2.21, up two cents from last week, three cents from last month and 19 cents from last year at this time. 

The story was the same across all grades, though perhaps not as steep a rise for the prices paid for diesel fuel from last year. Diesel averages about $2.43 today, up just two cents from this time last year. 
Premium and mid-grade gas, however, continued to trend upward, with mid-grade this morning averaging $2.47, up 19 cents over this time last year and premium averaging $2.71 this morning, up nearly 20 cents from this time last year. 

Natural gas
Natural gas spot prices rose at nearly every location this report week (Wednesday, Nov. 30 to Wednesday, Dec. 7). The Henry Hub spot price rose from $3.29 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) last Wednesday to $3.76/MMBtu yesterday. At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), the January 2017 contract rose 25 cents, from $3.352/MMBtu last Wednesday to $3.603/MMBtu yesterday.

Net withdrawals from working natural gas totaled 42 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending Dec. 2. Working natural gas stocks are 3,953 Bcf, which is 1 percent more than last year at this time and 7 percent more than the five-year (2011–15) average for this week. The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, rose by 41 cents, closing at $6.05/MMBtu for the week ending Dec. 2. The price of natural gasoline, ethane, propane, butane, and isobutane all rose, by 2, 10, 6, 9, and 15 percent, respectively.

Prices and demand are both rising for this commodity, as cold weather sets in. Temperatures in the Lower 48 states averaged 46 degrees, which is actually five degrees higher than the normal temperature for this time of year and 2 degrees higher than last year at this time. Total U.S. consumption of natural gas rose by 15 percent compared with the previous report week, according to data from PointLogic. Power burn climbed by 10 percent week over week, and industrial sector consumption increased by 4 percent. In the residential and commercial sectors, consumption increased by 29 percent.

Pizza company stocks
In trading, pizza stocks were mostly up on the week with Pizza Hut's parent company, Yum Brands, seeing a bump over the course of last week from $62.80 at the opening bell last Monday to close the week at $64.49. Similarly, Papa John's increased on the week from $85.82 to $88.07 at the closing bell on Friday. Papa Murphy's rose slightly to close the week at $4.71, up from $4.68 at the previous Friday's close.

Domino's Pizza, however, dropped $5.17 in value over the course of the trading week on the NYSE to close Friday at $163.57.

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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