SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks pared back part of their earlier gains late Tuesday morning as investors sought profit-taking amid the unabated coronavirus outbreak.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had risen 25.49 points, or 1.27 percent, to 2,028.00 as of 11:15 a.m.
South Korean shares opened sharply higher earlier in the day, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street over expectations of rate cuts in the United States and other countries to mitigate the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 5.09 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index climbed 4.49 percent.
Huh Jae-hwan, a strategist at Eugene Investment Co., said expectations of rate cuts by central banks around the world gave a boost to the South Korean main index.
He said foreigners and institutions turned net sellers on profit-taking by taking advantage of a rebound in the local stock market.
South Korea has reported more than 4,800 confirmed coronavirus cases, while the death toll reached 28 on Tuesday.
Most large-cap stocks were up.
Top market cap Samsung Electronics rose 1.45 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix was up 1.52 percent.
Leading pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics gained 3.98 percent, but South Korea's largest carmaker, Hyundai Motor, was flat.
The local currency was trading at 1,191.10 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.60 won from the previous session's close.
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