SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares extended gains late Monday morning on the back of strong advances by chipmakers and the government's decision to loosen quarantine measures against the new coronavirus pandemic.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 14.45 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,406.41 as of 11:20 a.m.
Stocks traded bullish after a seven-day winning streak.
The country lowered its COVID-19 social distancing guidelines to the lowest level starting Monday, raising hopes that the eased virus curbs will boost economic recovery.
Chipmakers led the KOSPI's hike, buoyed by promising export data. In the first 10 days of October, exports of memory chips rose 11.2 percent on-year, while South Korean exports contracted 28.8 percent.
In Seoul, most large caps traded higher.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 1.01 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix jumped 2.77 percent.
Internet portal giant Naver shed 0.83 percent, with its rival Kakao down 0.92 percent.
Leading chemical maker LG Chem dipped 1.73 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI slipped 0.11 percent.
Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics climbed 0.56 percent, and Celltrion gained 1.91 percent.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, traded flat, and top steelmaker POSCO lost 0.96 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,149.45 won against the U.S. dollar, up 3.85 won from the previous session's close.
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