Commodities: What goes up must come down

| by S.A. Whitehead
Commodities: What goes up must come down

The nice uptick in stock market prices for most brands two weeks ago was all but erased last week in trading, with all four brands monitored by Pizza Marketplace showing losses during the first full week of December.

There was some good news for pizza restaurateurs in the prices paid for cheese and vehicle fuel, but other commodity prices were a mixed bag. 

Cheese prices are in free-fall, ending the week at $1.48, down 8 cents from the previous Friday's close and 13 cents from two weeks ago. Still, prices are well above the lows experienced in March. 

Wheat was mixed, from 23 3/4 cents lower to 26 1/4 cents higher. Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein rail bid was 4.75 cents lower to 26.25 cents higher, at $4.55 3/4–$6.14 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 steady to 8 cents lower, at $4.21–$4.31 per bushel.

Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14 to 14.5 percent protein rail, was 15.75 to 20.75 cents lower, at $7.11–$7.56 per bushel. Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was 6.75 cents lower to 10 cents higher, at $5.06 1/2–$5.30 per bushel.

Vehicle fuel 

Natural gas 
Overall, natural gas spot price movements were mixed this report week (Nov. 29 to Dec. 6). The Henry Hub national benchmark spot price fell from $3.06 per million British thermal units over the report week to $2.92/MMBtu. At the New York Mercantile Exchange , the January 2018 contract price fell 26 cents from $3.179/MMBtu over the report week to $2.922/MMBtu yesterday. 

Net injections to working gas totaled 2 billion cubic feet for the week ending Dec. 1. Working natural gas stocks are 3,695 Bcf, which is 7 percent less than the year-ago level and 1 percent less than the five-year (2012–2016) average for this week.

The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, fell 22 cents, averaging $8.08/MMBtu for the week ending Dec. 6. The price of natural gasoline, ethane, and propane fell 2, 10, and 2 percent, respectively. The prices of butane and isobutane rose 1 percent.

According to Baker Hughes, for the week ending Tuesday, Nov. 28, the natural gas rig count increased by 4 to 180. The number of oil-directed rigs rose by 2 to 749. The total rig count increased by 6, and it now stands at 929.

Pizza company stocks
It was a down week all around for pizza company trading on the stock markets, but the damage wasn't severe. Domino's dropped to $183.91, down 71 cents from the previous week's close of $184.62,  while Pizza Hut parent Yum Brands fell 8 cents on the week to close at $83.32 Friday, down from $83.40 a week earlier. 

Papa John's — after experiencing a long-awaited bump up to $59.96 two weeks ago — dropped back to $57.57 at the closing of trading on the NASDAQ Friday. Papa Murphy's fell 7 cents Friday to $6.22 from the previous week's close of $6.29. 

Topics: Cheese, Delivery, Financial Management, Financial News, Operations Management

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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