05.30.2019
By John D'Antona

US Exchanges Dealt Blow in Manipulation Case

For the moment, the market manipulation trading case between the exchanges and investing public continues.

In a recent ruling the major US stock exchanges –  BATS Global Markets, Chicago Stock Exchange Direct Edge ECN, New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Arca, Nasdaq OMX BX, and the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC – failed to win a dismissal  from the New York Southern District Court to dismiss market manipulation allegations filed against them by investors.

In four actions originally filed in New York, various investors (the plaintiffs) brought claims under Sections 6(b) and 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against seven stock exchanges – BATS Global Markets, Chicago Stock Exchange, Direct Edge, New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Arca, Nasdaq OMX BX, and the Nasdaq Stock Market – and two Barclays entities, Barclays PLC and Barclays Capital, Inc, according to filed legal paperwork.

The investors allege the Exchanges have violated securities laws by making certain information – data feeds, colocation and other information – only available to HFT firms (at discriminatory pricing levels). By doing so, the argument continues, exchanges are complicit in providing an unfair advantage that results in market manipulation.

According to court papers, the plaintiffs allege that, as a result, they were induced to trade based on artificial price signals, only to see their trades execute at worse prices than advertised, and that the Exchanges’ role in that overall scheme makes them liable to the plaintiffs under Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman said claims against BATS Global Markets, Nasdaq, the New York Stock Exchange and other defendants had “nudged themselves across the line from conceivable to plausible” and should not be dismissed.

The case is set to continue in New York Southern District Court.

The case is In re Barclays Liquidity Cross and High Frequency Trading Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-md-02589.

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