Starwatch Consumer

Hershey will offer its first new U.S. confectionery brand in 30 years

Updated: 2013-10-11T01:51:48Z

Sweet branding

Hershey Co. plans to bring the Lancaster line of caramel soft cremes that it introduced in China to its home market next year, marking its first new U.S. confectionery brand in 30 years. The cremes will go on sale in January and come in three flavors, Hershey said Thursday.

The candies, introduced in China in May, are named after Lancaster Caramel Co., which company founder Milton Hershey opened in 1886 and sold to American Caramel Co. 14 years later. That Hershey started selling a product abroad before bringing it to the U.S. shows how much North America’s largest chocolate producer has focused on expanding internationally after passing up the chance to buy British candy maker Cadbury Ltd. in January 2010.

Roamin’ holiday

T-Mobile US, the first big U.S. telecom company to break the link between phone upgrades and two-year contracts, now has eliminated the roaming charges a customer normally must pay to use his phone number and data service in a foreign country.

T-Mobile customers will be automatically enrolled in the free-roaming agreement on Oct. 31. Those who subscribe to the company’s plan, called Simple Choice, can take their smartphone to a foreign country and pay 20 cents a minute for voice calls. Text messages and data will be unlimited.

The free roaming benefit will apply to about 100 countries, including France, Spain, China, Japan, Russia and China.

Mobile TV

Audiovox’s new Mobiletv gizmo, which costs $130, allows users to pick up free TV signals and watch them on Apple and Android mobile devices without cutting into a cellular data allotment. The accessory doesn’t have to be attached to the mobile device physically. Previous mobile TV antennas could hang precariously from the charging port.

The Audiovox device can be set up within 25 feet of a tablet or smartphone – on a windowsill, for example. It works over Wi-Fi and lets consumers watch broadcast networks such as ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, PBS, Telemundo and Ion using the Dyle Mobile TV app. The app is downloadable free from Apple’s App Store or Android’s Google.

Rates steady

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages were little changed this week, staying near three-month lows.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on the 30-year loan edged up to 4.23 percent from 4.22 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan rose to 3.31 percent from 3.29 percent. Both are the lowest since July.

Mortgage rates began falling last month after the Federal Reserve held off slowing its $85 billion a month in bond purchases. The bond buys are intended to keep longer-term interest rates low, including mortgage rates.

Longer-term rates have also stayed low because of the government shutdown and a lack of government data.

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