SEOUL, Feb. 15 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened higher Monday on strong advances by tech stocks.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 35.91 points, or 1.16 percent, to 3,136.49 points in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The KOSPI came to a strong start on foreign and institutional buying.

Improved exports and eased social distancing measures against the new coronavirus also boosted hopes for a quick economic rebound.

Top cap Samsung Electronics gained 2.45 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix advanced 3.57 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem moved up 2.71 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI climbed 1.66 percent.

Giant internet portal operator Naver jumped 3.55 percent, with its rival Kakao moving up 1.23 percent. Top automaker Hyundai Motor added 0.41 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,104.45 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.55 won from the previous session’s close.