SEOUL, Dec. 18 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened slightly higher Friday, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street amid hopes of a new U.S. stimulus deal and the possible rollout of U.S. biotech company Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 1.65 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,772.08 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.49 percent to reach a record high of 30,303.37 points, while the Nasdaq composite also reached new heights, gaining 0.84 percent to 12,764.75.

Investors pinned hopes on a looming new U.S. stimulus deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted Thursday (U.S. time) that talks for a COVID-19 relief bill were under way, expressing urgency for an outcome.

Investor sentiment was also boosted after Moderna said its COVID-19 vaccine received recommendation for emergency use by an expert panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In Seoul, most large caps traded mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics edged up 0.14 percent, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 0.42 percent.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics fell 0.25 percent, while Celltrion added 0.14 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem retreated 0.6 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI slipped 0.35 percent.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest carmaker, inched down 0.26 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver fell 0.35 percent, and rival Kakao lost 0.54 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,095.1 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.8 won from the previous session’s close.