Gas prices back on the rise, no slowdown expected
Average gas prices jumped 14 cents in the past week, attributable to turmoil in oil-producing countries such as Egypt, Iraq and Syria. Additionally, a drop in gold prices has prompted investors to invest in oil. Some analysts expect this hike to continue through August.
Public pizza companies Domino's, Chuck E. Cheese's and Papa John's benefited from a record-high stock market last week after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said "monetary policy will remain highly accommodative."
Average block cheese prices remained somewhat steady last week on the Chicago Mercantile, averaging $1.67, from $1.65 the week prior.
Cheese averaged $1.90 in the spring. It remains significantly lower than the $2.10 average at the end of 2012.
Cheese markets closed at $1.67 Monday, $1.66 Tuesday, and $1.67 Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Average wheat prices are on the rise again, averaging $7.92 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, compared to $7.64 the week prior, the crop's lowest average of the year so far. Two weeks ago, wheat averaged $7.98.
Prices averaged $9.13 at the end of 2012.
Last week, wheat closed at $7.73 Monday, $7.98 Tuesday, $7.97 Wednesday, and $7.96 Thursday and Friday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
The nationwide average price for regular unleaded fuel is $3.61, up from $3.47 last week.
According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were also $3.61. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.39 at the pump.
Monday's mid-range unleaded is $3.78, from $3.65 last week. Premium gas is $3.94, from $3.81 last week.
Diesel fuel prices are also up, averaging $3.84 tody, from $3.81 last week. The price of diesel fuel was $3.85 a month ago, and $3.68 a year ago.
Natural gas spot prices increased over the report week in most areas as warm weather led to increased cooling demand. The Henry Hub spot price rose from $3.54 per million British thermal unit (MMBtu) July 3 to $3.69 July 10.
At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) the front month (August 2013) contract fell a penny from $3.690 per MMBtu July 3 to $3.680 July 10.
Pizza company stocks
Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed last week at $70.64, slightly down from $71.66 the week prior after reporting its quarterly earnings and lingering effects from China's supply chain issues and avian flu outbreak. The company's 52-week low was in early February at $59.68. The company's 52-week high was $74.75 in November.
Domino's hit yet another 52-week high last week, hitting $64.07 on Friday before closing the day at $63.33. The company closed at $61.01 the week prior. DPZ's 52-week low was $31.12 a year ago.
Papa John's also reached a new high on Friday, at $69.73. The company closed at $69.03, compared to 68.12 the week prior. The company hit its 52-week low of $46.42 a year ago.
Friday was also a boon for CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, which reached a new 52-week high at $44.98 before closing at $44.60, from $42.95 the week prior. Its 52-week low was in August at $28.23.
Pizza Inn closed out last week at $5.76, from $5.93 the week prior. PZZI hit a new 52-week high in May, at $9.18. The company traded as low as $2.20 a year ago.
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Alicia Kelso Alicia has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with FastCasual.com, QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.