A federal court in New York City dismissed five lawsuits against multiple stock exchanges, Barclays PLC and Barclays Capital Inc., all echoing claims made in Michael Lewis’s 2014 book Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt that high-frequency traders have gained an unfair advantage trading stocks. This is because, claimed Lewis, exchanges and so-called “dark pools” have permitted HFTs to trade on market data faster than other investors. The plaintiffs principally charged that co-location services and data feeds provided to HFTs, as well as the creation of “hundreds” of complex order types, unfairly benefited HFTs, including permitting them to trade faster. The court dismissed all charges against the exchanges and the Barclays entities – which maintained a dark pool – claiming that plaintiffs’ complaints failed to state a claim. Although plaintiffs alleged that the exchanges engaged in a manipulative scheme, they failed to allege any manipulative acts by the defendants, said the court. The court also dismissed charges against the exchanges regarding their provision of data feeds and different order types on the grounds that, in connection with Securities and Exchange Commission-regulated exchanges’ discharge of regulatory responsibilities, private actions are barred by the doctrine of absolute immunity. In dismissing all the actions, the court noted that “Lewis and the critics of HFT may be right in arguing that it serves no productive purpose and merely allows certain traders to exploit technological inefficiencies in the market at the expense of other traders … Those, however, are debates and tasks for others. The Court’s narrow task was … to decide whether the Complaints in these cases were legally sufficient … Having concluded they are not, the Complaints must be and are dismissed.” (Click here to read my review of Flash Boysin the article “Flash Boys or Macbeth: Choose Shakespeare” in the April 7, 2014 edition of Bridging the Week.)