It's often said that bad economic news is good news for equity markets, since it strengthens the case for a rate cut, but that didn't quite work out yesterday. Bad news remained bad news. But perhaps equity markets are also confused by being bombarded with contradictory data.  

The ISM index of activity in the US manufacturing sector sharply contracted in May to 48.7, while the consensus was for an index averaging around 49.8. 

The FTSE 100 opened down 0.4% today. UK retail sales increased by 0.7% year-on-year in May, recovering from a 4.0% decline in April. However, non-food sales continued to decline, while food sales saw a modest increase.

In company news, British American Tobacco reported a drop in revenues and profits due to ongoing economic pressures in the US and illicit vapor products. However, it reiterated its 2024 guidance. Vistry gained 0.3% after agreeing to acquire a portfolio of new build homes valued at £580 million. LondonMetric swung to a £120.0 million pretax profit, and MissionGroup saw a 1.2% rise after considering a revised takeover offer from Brave Bison Group.

In other news, the Conservative party in the UK announced plans for new annual caps on work and family visas, following Labour's pledge to cut migration numbers. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's plan includes setting annual visa caps by parliament, which will progressively lower each year.

Things to read today: