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General Motors and the United Auto Workers reached tentative agreement Friday night on a new contract to end a parts plant strike that had idled four assembly plants in Michigan and Canada.

GM spokeswoman Darla Parks confirmed the agreement, as did UAW officials and representatives of the local that represents about 2,800 hourly workers at the GM Powertrain Group transmission plant in Warren, Mich.

The union was seeking more workers to ease overtime and problems related to what it described as chronic understaffing.

"We believe the agreement addresses the legitimate needs of our employees, while at the same time meeting our need to remain competitive," Ms. Parks said.

Details of the agreement will not be released until the ratification vote by the plant's 2,800 hourly workers Sunday.

The strike began at midnight Tuesday. The plant makes front-drive transmissions, wheels and suspension parts for many of GM's cars and trucks. It supplies every one of GM's North American assembly plants, except the Saturn factory in Spring Hill, Tenn.

A total of 19,300 workers, including the strikers, were idled by the strike.

The dollar continues to strengthen
NEW YORK (AP) -- The dollar rose for the fifth straight day Friday to hit multiyear highs against several European currencies and a 2-month high vs. the yen, marking its best weekly performance this year.

Strong U.S. economic data, further doubts about the credibility of Europe's planned single currency and a French central banker's predictions of further dollar gains all combined to push the U.S. currency up.

The dollar reached an intraday high of 1.8403 marks, the strongest since July 1991, before settling in New York at 1.8384 marks, up from 1.8348 Thursday.

Against the yen, the dollar advanced to 117.02 yen in New York, up from 116.05 yen Thursday and the highest level since May 14. The pound fell to $1.6642 from $1.6745.

Fourth vacancy opens on Apple board
CUPERTINO, Calif. (Bloomberg) -- Apple Computer Inc. director Delano Lewis, who is president and chief executive of National Public Radio, resigned from Apple's board Friday.

The resignation of Lewis, 59, leaves four openings on the company's nine-seat board.

The departure could actually make it easier for Apple to attract a new CEO, some analysts said, because the new executive would be able to help fill the empty seats with people who support him.

Apple's board forced out Chairman and CEO Gilbert Amelio earlier this month because he was unable to return Apple to profitability.

Renault workers give up protest
VILVOORDE, Belgium (AP) -- Workers at the doomed Renault auto plant in Belgium relinquished control over more than 5,300 new cars they had seized in February to protest the closure of the factory.

The workers took the action three days after voting to end their protests at the Vilvoorde plant on the outskirts of Brussels and accept a compensation package from the French automaker. Renault is expected to start moving the cars out of the plant on Monday.

Scripps, Knight swap newspapers
CINCINNATI (AP) -- The E.W. Scripps Co. will trade the Monterey County Herald and the San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune in California for Knight-Ridder's Daily Camera, in Boulder, Colo., the companies said Friday. The deal, expected to be completed next month, supports both companies' strategy to build clusters of newspapers in growing regions.

Area stocks rise this week
Buffalo-area stocks rose this week, led higher by General Motors Corp., Moog Inc. and Rite Aid Corp.

The Buffalo Bloomberg Stock Index, an employee-weighted list of 59 companies with operations in the region, rose 1.23, or 0.73 percent, to 170.78 this week. The index is up 27.64 percent so far this year.

For the week, GM gained 1 7/8 to 56 7/8 ; Class A shares of Moog, based in East Aurora, rose 1 1/4 to 31 1/8 , and Rite Aid increased 5 1 1/1 6 to 53 1 1/1 6.

The local index underperformed major indexes this week. The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 2.57 percent; the Dow Jones industrial average rose 2.83 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.39 percent.

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