SEOUL, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s benchmark stock index opened sharply higher Friday, as optimism over new coronavirus vaccinations gained ground in the financial markets.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 25.87 points, or 0.94 percent, to 2,772.33 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Local stocks traded bullish, as vaccine hopes offset concerns over increasing COVID-19 cases at home and disappointing jobless data in the United States.

Investor sentiment was boosted following a U.S. government advisory panel’s endorsement of widespread use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.

Most large caps traded higher in Seoul.

Market behemoth Samsung Electronics gained 0.82 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 0.43 percent.

Chemical firm LG Chem advanced 1.22 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI rose 0.54 percent.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics moved up 0.61 percent, and Celltrion increased 1.53 percent.

Internet giant Naver went up 1.4 percent, with its rival Kakao climbing 1.75 percent.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor gained 0.52 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,087.5 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.2 won from the previous session’s close.