South Korean stocks traded 0.12 percent higher late Tuesday morning following sharp falls in the previous day sparked by financial jitters in some emerging countries, analysts said.
After starting lower, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 2.24 points to 1,912.58 as of 11:10 a.m.
Foreign investors remained net sellers of local stocks.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 2.68 percent and chip giant SK hynix rose 2.4 percent.
Defensive stocks such as telecommunication shares shot up. Top mobile operator SK telecom advanced 2.68 percent and its rival KT Corp. gained 4.86 percent.
The Federal Reserve's tapering of quantitative easing, along with the slowing economic growth of China, were causing financial instability in developing nations including Argentina and Turkey, making currencies of those countries weaker.
U.S. markets lost ground on emerging market risks. The Dow Jones industrial average declined 0.26 percent and tech-laden Nasdaq composite index fell 1.08 percent.
The local currency was changing hands at 1,079.25 won against the greenback, up 4.35 won from Monday's close. (Yonhap News)