South Korean stocks extended gains late Monday morning as institutions increased their stock purchases on eased market uncertainties. The won rose against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 8.44 points, or 0.40 percent, to 2,143.32 as of 11:20 a.m.
"Investor sentiment has improved after the United States has not designated South Korea as a currency manipulator. It seems to be factored in the main index," Daishin Securities analyst Lee Kyoung-min said.
Refiners, financial and defensive stocks were main gainers.
No. 1 cosmetics company AmorePacific jumped 4.61 percent, utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. rose 0.11 percent and top refiner SK Innovation gained 0.62 percent. Shares of dominant carmaker Hyundai Motor advanced 0.70 percent.
But tech shares fell, keeping the index from rising further.
Chip giant Samsung Electronics declined 0.71 percent, and another chipmaker, SK hynix, fell 1.0 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,135.90 won against the US dollar, up 4.10 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)