SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks traded higher late Monday morning on strong gains in chipmakers and hopes for a quick economic recovery despite the resurgent coronavirus outbreaks.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 43.29 points, or 1.7 percent, to 2,596.79 as of 11:20 a.m.
Stocks got off to a strong start on foreign buying amid signs of economic recovery.
South Korea's exports jumped 11.1 percent on-year in the first 20 days of November, with outbound shipments of memory chips soaring 21.9 percent over the cited period.
Bio shares also continued to perform well with vaccine hopes running high.
South Korean authorities raised the social distancing scheme to Level 2 over the weekend, which will go into effect Tuesday as the country's new daily infections have stayed over 300 for six consecutive days.
Most large caps traded higher.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics jumped 3.4 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 3.1 percent.
Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics moved up 1.13 percent, and Celltrion climbed 2.19 percent.
Leading chemical firm LG Chem gained 2.9 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI rose 2.14 percent.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest carmaker, advanced 1.41 percent.
Internet portal giant Naver edged up 0.18 percent, and its rival Kakao added 0.27 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,113.25 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1.05 won from the previous session's close.