SEOUL, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks kicked off higher Monday, the first session of the new year, led by strong chip and auto gains.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 4.48 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,877.95 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.37 percent, but No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix advanced 2.95 percent.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor soared 6.77 percent, and its auto part making affiliate Hyundai Mobis spiked 12.13 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem gained 2.06 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI jumped 3.66 percent.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics moved down 2.3 percent, and Celltrion fell 2.79 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver dipped 2.22 percent, with its rival Kakao declining 0.77 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,085.75 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.55 won from the previous session’s close.

The session’s opening hour was pushed back by one hour to 10 a.m. for the bourse operator’s new year’s ceremony but will close at the usual time of 3:30 p.m.