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Traders gave a little early 'thanks' for pizza brands last week

| by S.A. Whitehead
Traders gave a little early 'thanks' for pizza brands last week

Photo: iStock

The trading week before Thanksgiving ended leaving all but one pizza restaurant brand saying a few prayers of gratitude last Friday, when all but Pizza Hut parent, Yum Brands, closed up over the course of the week's buying and selling. 

With an increasing number of equities research analysts upgrading their ratings on Papa John's International to buy over the last month or more, it may come as little surprise that the stock posted gains last week, ending Friday at $61.51, up $1.81 from the previous week's close. 

Pie Five and Pizza Inn parent, Rave Restaurant Group, also did well on the trading floor last week, rebounding to reclaim some of its losses from the week before to show investors approved of the brand's changes in top leadership in the interim. Rave closed Friday at $1.82, up from $1.45 a week earlier. Domino's, meanwhile, continued its upward trend in value, closing Friday at $285.76, up $4.35 from the previous week's close. 

In fact, Pizza Hut parent, Yum Brands, turned in the only negative performance on the week, when that triple-brand restaurant market player ended the week at $97.62, down 66 cents on the week. 


In cheese market activity, weekly averages for both barrels and blocks were down from the previous week, with barrels averaging $2.17, down 11 cents over the five trading days. Blocks also fell, in this case 9 cents on the week, to average $1.85 over the week. 

Closing prices Friday included $2.19 for barrels and $1.84 for blocks on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Market News Service in Missouri. 

Cheese makers have been reporting active production schedules, though producers in the Midwest told the U.S.D.A. that milk availability is tighter. Cheese demand is mostly steady.


Compared to the previous week, cash bids for wheat were mostly lower last week, though wheat export sales showed an increase of 16.1 million bushels for 2019-20. The U.S.D.A. reported that overall, wheat was 17 1/2 cents lower to 7 cents higher.  

Kansas City U.S. No. 1 Hard Red Winter, ordinary protein rail bid was 1 1/4 cent lower, from $5.26-$5.36 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 7 cents higher at $5.54 per bushel. Minneapolis and Duluth U.S. No. 1 Dark Northern Spring, 14 to 14.5 percent protein rail, was 17 1/2 cents lower, from $6.80 1/4-$6.95 1/4 per bushel. Portland U.S. Soft White wheat rail was steady to 15 cents lower, from $5.80-$5.95 per bushel.

Vehicle fuel

Though lower than last year at this time, the nation's gas stocks grew last week by 1.8 million barrels, helping to hold prices steady amid less demand, according to the American Automobile Association. New data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows nationally, demand fell from 9.32 million barrels per day to 9.19 million b/d over the week, about even with last year's mid-November demand rate. 

Similarly, the national average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline over the week averaged $2.59, down nearly a cent over the week. Mid-grade ($2.93) and premium $3.19) both fell about 2 cents on the week, while all three gas grades were 3 to 4 cents lower on average than what they were last month, according to AAA. At $3.01 per gallon, diesel has remained steady over the week, though up a cent over the price it averaged last month. E85 averaged a penny more at $2.33 over both last week and last month. 

Natural gas

Natural gas spot price movements were mixed over the seven-day period that ended last Wednesday, Nov. 20, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The Henry Hub spot price fell from $2.62 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) to $2.47/MMBtu over that same period.

At the New York Mercantile Exchange, the price of the December 2019 contract decreased 4 cents, from $2.60/MMBtu to $2.56/MMBtu. The price of the 12-month strip averaging December 2019 through November 2020 futures contracts declined 6 cents/MMBtu to $2.427/MMBtu.

The net withdrawal from working gas totaled 94 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending Nov. 15. Working natural gas stocks total 3,638 Bcf, which is 16% more than the year-ago level and 2% lower than the five-year (2014-18) average for this week.

The natural gas plant liquids composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, rose by 9 cents/MMBtu, averaging $5.78/MMBtu for the week ending Nov. 20. The price of isobutane fell by 2%. The prices of ethane, natural gasoline, and propane rose by 1%, 2%, and 4%, respectively. The price of butane remained flat week over week.

According to Baker Hughes, for the week ending Tuesday, Nov. 12, the natural gas rig count decreased by one to 129. The number of oil-directed rigs fell by 10 to 674. The total rig count decreased by 11, and it now stands at 806.

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

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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