SEOUL, Dec. 14 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened slightly higher Monday on the back of strong tech and pharmaceutical gains, but investors remain wary of the country’s spiking new coronavirus outbreaks.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 3.96 points, or 0.14 percent, to 2,774.02 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Contact-free shares, such as giant chipmakers, drugmakers and online platform operators, advanced as South Korea’s daily new COVID-19 cases broke the 1,000 mark for the first time Sunday.

President Moon Jae-in said the government is mulling raising the social distancing scheme to the highest, Level 3.

Large caps traded mixed in Seoul.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 0.27 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix advanced 1.3 percent.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics lost 0.73 percent, but Celltrion jumped 2.35 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver moved up 0.86 percent, with its rival Kakao climbing 1.07 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem retreated 0.87 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI lost 1.26 percent.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest carmaker, shed 0.79 percent, but leading steelmaker POSCO rose 0.72 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,090.35 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.05 won from the previous session’s close.