SEOUL, March 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks extended gains late Wednesday morning, helped by increased foreign buying, as investors welcome a stimulus package to stem the economic fallout from the new coronavirus outbreak.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index had risen 33.28 points, or 1.65 percent, to 2,047.43 as of 11:15 a.m.
Foreign investors purchased a net 171 billion won (US$144.3 million) worth of stocks, giving a boost to the main index.
The U.S. stock market closed lower despite a surprise rate cut by the Federal Reserve.
The Fed slashed interest rates by half a percentage point in an apparent move to mitigate the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
The virus known as COVID-19 has killed 32 people and infected more than 5,300 others in South Korea.
Earlier in the day, South Korea proposed $9.8 billion in extra budget to tackle the economic fallout from the virus and improve its readiness against contagious diseases.
In Seoul, most large-cap stocks advanced.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 2.17 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix was up 1.29 percent.
Leading automaker Hyundai Motor gained 0.89 percent, and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis advanced 1.71 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,188.25 won against the U.S. dollar, up 8.25 won from the previous session's close.
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