Australian shares close higher on phased economic reopening plan

 Australian shares close higher on phased economic reopening plan

* Energy stocks lead gains on ASX

* IDP Education surges over 20%

* NZX 50 ends 0.2% higher (Updates to close)

July 2 (Reuters) – Australian shares closed higher on Friday, boosted by the country’s four-phase plan to reopen the economy from virus-led lockdowns, though they ended the turbulent week flat.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 0.59% at 7,308.6 points.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the reopening plan, saying that each phase will require a new vaccine milestone to be hit, with a focus on suppressing COVID-19 to a stage where it would be managed like other infectious diseases like the flu.

“The market is hopeful today (Friday) as numbers in New South Wales seem to be under control and the government plan for a phased opening of the economy to the outside world is a positive, even if it is going to take forever” Henry Jennings, a senior analyst for Marcus Today said.

“Lesser cases from New South Wales and…

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