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Ho, ho, ho! It's sure good to be Domino's

| by S.A. Whitehead
Ho, ho, ho! It's sure good to be Domino's

Logo: Domino's via Twitter

When the elves were passing out holiday cheer this year, they obviously gave a double-scoop to Domino's, which has been riding an all-time stock value high for slightly more than two weeks now. The brand's value peaked on Nov. 29 at $268.80, and has been hovering in that range ever since, including last week at the close on the New York Stock Exchange, when Domino's closed out trading activity for the week at $265.40, up $7.20 from the previous close.

Competitors around the stomping grounds of publicly traded pizza brands did not fare so well, but for the most part did post gains on the week. Pizza Hut parent company, Yum Brands, closed Friday at $100.11, which is up $1.34 from the previous week's close of $98.77. Double-pizza brand company, Rave Restaurant Group, also fared well last week, closing Friday at $1.90, up 14 cents from the prior week's close, but still below the summer peak for that company on July 9, when the stock valued at $3.08.  

In fact, Louisville-based Papa John's was the only loser on the week, closing Friday at $60.25, down 21 cents from the previous week's close. 


On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange last week, prices were in a bearish descent, with barrels closing Friday at $1.70, while 40-pound blocks came in at $1.80. The weekly averages for both quantities of the commodity were down, including a much lower price of $1.87 for barrels and a 6-cent dip for blocks at $1.90. 

The U.S.D.A. reports that cheese markets — particularly barrel prices — are expected to be in damage control for the rest of the year, after nearing historic peaks in the fall. That said, pricing corrections were expected from most national cheese contacts. Likewise, producers have been waiting for some downward pressure to entice buyers since end-users have limited purchasing for a near-term/necessity basis because of those previously mentioned higher prices. 

Cheese production is steady to higher, with plenty of milk available for holiday product. Mozzarella and other pizza cheese producers are hoping for a strong end- and beginning-of-year push since market prices have come down. 

In the foreign cheese markets, producers said almost all available cheese offers are pre-scheduled for existing orders' fulfillment. According to U. S. Department of Agriculture contacts, partial delays in deliveries occurred throughout the week and no cheese available to satisfy spot inquiries from foreign producers, with many buyers accepting higher prices. In fact, U.S. domestic prices for Parmesan, and Romano have increased 4 cents, the U.S.D.A. said. 


Compared to last week, cash bids for wheat were steady to higher, while dark Northern spring wheat was mixed, as export sales showed an increase of 18.5 million bushels for 2019-20 were reported. Overall, wheat was steady to 9 cents higher, while dark Northern spring wheat 30 3/4 cents lower to 9 1/2 cents higher. 

Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein rail bid was 7 1/4 cents higher, from $5.38 3/4-$5.48 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 9 cents higher, at $5.92 per bushel.  

Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 dark Northern spring, 14.0 to 14.5% protein rail, was 30 3/4 cents lower to 9 1/4 cents higher, at $6.63 per bushel. Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was steady to 5 cents higher, from $5.90-$5.97 per bushel.

Vehicle fuel

Total domestic gasoline stocks continue to increase, according to new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Stocks increased by 5.4 million barrels (bbl) last week, bringing the total to 234.8 million bbl. Gas demand, however, fell from 9.03 million b/day to 8.88 million b/day. 

As stocks continue to grow, while demand decreases, pump prices across the nation are likely to continue seeing downward pressure, according to the American Automobile Association. Meanwhile, the national average held steady at $2.57 most of the week for a gallon for regular unleaded gasoline, dropping to $2.55 a gallon this morning. That's down 2 cents from last week and 5 cents from a month ago, but still above last year's average price at this time of $2.38 a gallon. 

That same general trend held true across grades with mid-grade averaging $2.89, while premium came in at $3.16. But both of those grades were much higher in price this year than last, with drivers paying 17 cents more for mid-grade this year and 19 cents more for premium.

Diesel ($2.99) was down a cent from last week, 2 cents lower than last month and 9 cents lower than last year, while the price of E85 ($2.30) was down 2 cents from last month, but up 20 cents from last year. 

Natural gas

Natural gas spot price movements were mixed for the seven days, ending on Dec. 11, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The Henry Hub spot price fell from $2.37 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) to $2.26/MMBtu over that span.

At the New York Mercantile Exchange, the price of the January 2020 contract decreased 16 cents, from $2.399/MMBtu to $2.243/MMBtu, while the price of the 12-month strip — averaging January 2020 through December 2020 futures contracts — declined 6 cents/MMBtu to $2.274/MMBtu.

The net withdrawal from working gas totaled 73 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending Dec. 6. Working natural gas stocks total 3,518 Bcf, which is 20% more than the year-ago level and the same as the five-year (2014-18) average for this week.

The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, fell by 17 cents/MMBtu, averaging $5.60/MMBtu for the week ending Dec. 11. The prices of ethane, propane, isobutane, and butane fell by 7%, 5%, 5%, and 2%, respectively. The price of natural gasoline rose by 3%.

According to Baker Hughes, for the week ending Dec. 3, the natural gas rig count increased by two rigs to 133. The number of oil-directed rigs decreased by five rigs to 663. The total rig count decreased by three rigs, and it now stands at 799.

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Delivery, Financial Management, Financial News, Food & Beverage, Pizza Ingredients, Trends / Statistics

Companies: Pie Five Pizza Co., Rave Restaurant Group, Pizza Inn, Papa John's, Yum! Brands, Pizza Hut, Domino's

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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