The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong next month will sign an agreement with the Nasdaq in the United States to allow listed companies in both markets to have dual listings, according to exchange chairman Lee Hon-chiu. 'The agreement to be signed will provide a framework to enable companies in Hong Kong and the US to achieve reciprocal listings,' Mr Lee said. 'This will be a step forward in the co-operation between the markets.' Companies are expected to begin seeking dual listings in the first quarter of next year, Mr Lee said. Last December, the stock exchange and the Nasdaq set up a joint working group to study a dual-listing plan. In an announcement at the time, the exchanges said 25 companies would seek dual listings in the early stage of the plan. Yesterday, Mr Lee did not identify the names of companies likely to seek dual listings. However, brokers said technology companies probably would be that largest component of the first batch of companies. They also said this group could be expected to include big players to ensure a successful start-up of the dual listing plan. The exchanges will link their clearing services by the end of next month to facilitate dual listings, according to Clear Talk, Hongkong Clearing's information bulletin. The agreement will be the second reached between the exchanges. Last year, the exchanges agreed to create a joint Web site to allow investors to track stock performances on the markets.