In a move that will leave the Big Board with just five remaining "Designated Market Makers," J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. has agreed to sell the business of Bear Wagner Specialists LLC to Barclays Capital, people familiar with the matter said.

With the agreement, the number of trading firms previously known as specialists on the New York Stock Exchange has shrunk once again. The role of specialists has been cut by more than half over the past decade as electronic trading proliferated, with specialist firms losing the monopoly they once had over specific stocks.

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