SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened higher Monday on improved Chinese economic data and slowing bond yield hikes in the United States.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 9.39 points, or 0.31 percent, to 3,035.65 points in the first 15 minutes.

Steel, financial and tech stocks led the KOSPI’s hike, while retail and insurance traded bearish.

Samsung Electronics added 0.37 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix advanced 0.36 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem retreated 1.11 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI shed 1.49 percent. Top automaker Hyundai Motor declined 0.43 percent.

Giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics went up 0.42 percent, while top internet portal operator Naver gained 1.06 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,129.1 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3 won from the previous session’s close.