SEOUL, Dec. 29 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened higher Tuesday on the ex-dividend day, largely due to investors’ optimism for a further hike in stock prices.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.32 point, or 8.92 percent, to 2,817.52 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The gain came after a choppy start on the ex-dividend day. Investors were obliged to hold on to their shares until the previous session for year-end dividends.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics edged up 0.13 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 1.3 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem fell 0.49 percent, while rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI advanced 2.86 percent.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics gained 2.03 percent, and Celltrion spiked 7.94 percent.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest carmaker, lost 0.26 percent, and leading steelmaker POSCO slipped 0.18 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver moved up 0.18 percent, with its rival Kakao climbing 1.74 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,095.6 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1.1 won from the previous session’s close.