SEOUL, Oct. 23 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened slightly higher Friday, buoyed by optimism for improved corporate earnings in the third quarter amid the pandemic.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 1.31 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,356.36 in the first 20 minutes of trading.

Stocks started slightly higher despite lingering uncertainties over the ongoing talks for the new U.S. virus relief package.

In Seoul, most large caps traded lower.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics traded flat, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dropped 0.24 percent.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics dipped 2.74 percent, but Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, gained 0.92 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver shed 0.85 percent, but its rival Kakao lost 1.15 percent.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem slid 0.31 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI retreated 0.47 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,135.85 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.95 won from the previous session’s close.