Are frantic, screaming stock traders (a la "Trading Places") a thing of the past?

For decades there was a standard image of the New York Stock Exchange trading floor that had guys in cheesy “barber” jackets (my term) clutching pads of paper and buying and selling stocks like crazy men. They would gather in frantic circles, screaming at each other and communicating with mysterious hand signals, while jotting down orders on the pad. This image is captured perfectly in a scene in the movie “Trading Places.”

But I’ve noticed these days, from current images of the NYSE trading floor on the news, that scenes like the one in TP are nowhere to be found. Have they become a thing of the past?

First, the obligatory nitpick: The traders in Trading Places are commodities traders, not stock traders. In particular, their scheming hijinks involved concentrated orange juice futures.

The type of trading is called open outcry and still goes on in trading pits on various stock exchanges including the NYSE, and commodites exchanges like the New York Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The majority of trading, however, now occurs electronically. (I don’t know if the NY Board of Trade, where Trading Places has its climax, still uses open-outcry trading or not.)

The NYSE still uses specialists to trade; you have to get your order to the person who trades in that stock. There’s a lot of action, but no screaming; the specialist usually has buy and sell orders he can match if you hand him one.

There aren’t as many traders on the floor as there used to be. Here’s one article to that effect.