SEOUL, Jan. 7 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened higher Thursday, tracking overnight Wall Street gains that were largely generated by the Democrats’ control of the U.S. Senate.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 44.46 points, or 1.5 percent, to 3,012.67 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Stocks gained ground amid expectations that the U.S. political paradigm shift would help increase spending to stimulate the world’s largest economy and benefit its export-driven trade partners.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics advanced 1.7 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 1.91 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem moved up 1.12 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI rose 0.29 percent.

Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics climbed 0.61 percent, while Celltrion slipped 0.14 percent.

Internet portal operator Naver lost 0.52 percent, but its rival Kakao rose 0.38 percent. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor hiked 2.46 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,086.15 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.55 won from the previous session’s close.