SEOUL, Nov. 13 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened a tad higher Friday on chip gains, despite concerns over the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 3.31 points, or 0.13 percent, to 2,478.93 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Stocks traded choppy, with investors paying keen attention to the COVID-19 circumstances in global financial markets, particularly in the United States.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the world’s largest economy is on a solid path of recovery but also acknowledged that “the next few months could be challenging” due to the virus flare-up.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 1.08 percent to 29,080.17 points, with the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite losing 0.65 percent and the S&P 500 retreating 1 percent.

Most large caps traded mixed in Seoul.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1.64 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 1.93 percent.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest carmaker, advanced 1.72 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem lost 1.73 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI dipped 3.2 percent.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics slipped 0.27 percent, and Celltrion retreated 1.03 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver edged up 0.18 percent, but its rival Kakao shed 0.28 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,114.1 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.7 won from the previous session’s close.

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