SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) — South Korean shares opened higher Thursday, tracking overnight Wall Street gains as U.S. President Joe Biden took office.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 22.24 points, or 0.71 percent, to 3,136.79 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Stocks rose on expectations that the new U.S. administration’s potential spending increase would spur demand for export-intensive economies.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics edged up 0.11 percent, with No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gaining 0.77 percent.

Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics climbed 0.38 percent, while Celltrion lost 0.48 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem hiked 0.9 percent, and Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest carmaker, rose 1.35 percent.

Internet portal Naver jumped 4.71 percent, and its rival Kakao advanced 2.93 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,098.85 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1.45 won from the previous session’s close.