SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened higher Wednesday, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street amid optimism surrounding the possible availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 24.16 points, or 0.92 percent, to 2,658.41 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.63 percent higher, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 1.28 percent, boosted by vaccine hopes.

Pfizer with BioNTech and Moderna applied for emergency approval of their respective COVID-19 vaccines from the European health regulator on Tuesday.

Most large caps in Seoul traded mixed.

Market behemoth Samsung Electronics jumped 2.36 percent, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix spiked 6.97 percent.

Leading chemical company LG Chem added 0.49 percent, while top automaker Hyundai Motor slipped 0.27 percent.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics fell 1.51 percent, and Celltrion edged down 0.15 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver declined 1.05 percent, with its rival Kakao falling 0.4 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,105.1 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1.1 won from the previous session’s close.