Wheat prices shoot up
Average block cheese prices dropped more than a dime to $1.98 last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The previous week's average was $2.09.
Cheese prices closed at $2.04 on Monday and Tuesday, $2.03 Wednesday, and then tumbled to $1.90 Thursday and Friday.
Wheat prices shot up to $9.08 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. The previous week closed at $8.36.
Wheat closed at $8.72 Monday, $8.96 Tuesday, $9.16 Wednesday, $9.10 Thursday and $9.45 Friday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
Monday's nationwide average for regular unleaded gasoline was $3.57, a 2-cent drop from last week's $3.59, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.
Prices are also down from $3.70 a month ago but up from this time last year, when consumers were paying $2.71 at the pump
Mid-range unleaded is $3.70, down from $3.72 the previous week, while today's premium unleaded price is $3.82, a 3-cent drop from last week's $3.85.
The nationwide average for diesel fuel is $3.88, a 2-cent drop from $3.90 last week. Although the price of diesel is 5 cents lower than last month's $3.95, it is significantly higher than this time last year when it cost $2.97.
Natural gas prices across the country declined this week, as relief from the high temperatures earlier this month continued to lessen air conditioning load. The Henry Hub spot price fell 12 cents from $4.09 per million Btu (MMBtu) last Wednesday to $3.97 per MMBtu, August 17, falling below $4 for the first time since March of 2010. Prices at numerous points across the country also averaged below $4 yesterday.
Pizza company stocks
Pizza stocks are down again this week after a slight trend up last week, following Standard & Poor's downgrade of U.S. debt to AA status.
Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. took a hit last week, closing Friday at $49.41, down from $51.61 the previous week. The company hit its 52-week high a month ago when shares were $56.72. Yum! traded at a 52-week low of $41 in August 2010.
Domino's shares plunged to $25.02, dropping more than a dollar from the previous week's $26.19. It hit its 52-week high the prior week at $26.87. Shares remain substantially higher over this time last year when the company traded as low as $12.45 in August 2010.
Papa John's has been dropping for the past several weeks. It dipped again Friday finishing at $27.70, down from the previous week's $28.38. The company hit its 52-week high earlier this summer at $34.12. Papa John's traded at a 52-week low of $23.20 in August 2010.
CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, dropped significantly last week, finishing at $28.93, down from $30.53 the previous week and hitting a new 52-week low. CEC hit its 52-week high just three weeks ago at $41.32.
Some analysts suspect that CEC has been hurt by weak consumer spending and increased competition from PG-13 movies. The company recently posted second-quarter revenue that came in below predictions, with same-store sales growing only 0.3 percent
Pizza Inn dropped to $2.90 Friday, down from last week's $3.01. Its 52-week high was a month ago when it finished at $3.26. It traded as low as $1.86 in August 2010.
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