SEOUL, March 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks trimmed earlier gains late Friday morning as foreigners continued to offload local shares amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The Korean won climbed sharply against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had risen 14.17 points, or 0.84 percent, to 1,700.41 as of 11:20 a.m.
The index got off to a strong start, rising as high as 4 percent, following overnight gains on Wall Street.
U.S. stocks rallied for a third straight day on Thursday after the Senate passed a US$2 trillion relief package to tackle the economic fallout from COVID-19 crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 6.2 percent to close at 22,552.17.
However, the index pared back earlier gains as foreigners and institution investors dumped stocks.
Most large-cap shares stayed in positive terrain, although some turned lower.
Top cap Samsung Electronics moved up 0.31 percent, and major chipmaker SK hynix advanced 2.11 percent.
No. 1 automaker Hyundai Motor climbed 0.59 percent, while auto parts producer Hyundai Mobis jumped 1.80 percent.
However, pharmaceutical giant Samsung BioLogics plunged 3.4 percent, and major battery maker Samsung SDI lost 0.81 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,216.7 won against the U.S. dollar, sharply up 16.1 won from the previous session's close.