South Korean stocks opened higher Monday, led by strong pharmaceutical gains.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 15.35 points, or 0.52 percent, to 2,991.56 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Top cap Samsung Electronics slipped 0.12 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix retreated 1.22 percent.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics added 1.64 percent, and Celltrion jumped 6.64 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem moved up 0.55 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI climbed 0.41 percent. Top automaker Hyundai Motor gained 0.87 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,118.5 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.3 won from the previous session’s close.