LONDON (Reuters) - Dread over higher global barriers to trade kept a lid on European stock markets on Wednesday, with little other company and economic news to provide relief from rising protectionism which has hit equity markets hard.
Europe's STOXX 600 <.STOXX> fell 0.3 percent by 0725 GMT, with autos stocks <.SXAP> again the worst performers, falling 0.9 percent and driving Germany's DAX down 0.5 percent as BMW <BMWG.DE>, Volkswagen <VOWG_p.DE> and Daimler <DAIGn.DE> declined.
The pan-European index hit its lowest since April 12 while the autos sector, a prominent target of higher U.S. tariffs, neared its lowest in ten months.
Energy stocks <.SXEP> helped limit losses, rising 1 percent as crude prices climbed on supply disruption in Canada and after U.S. officials told importers to stop buying Iranian crude from November.
Shares in takeover target IWG <IWG.L>, the British workspace firm, fell 4.1 percent after it warned on profit, blaming the cost of opening new space and a weak performance in Britain.
Traders said the takeover interest from private equity firms Terra Firma and TDR Capital among others were supporting the stock despite the profit warning.
With economic and company news thin on the ground, broker recommendations drove some big moves.
Imerys <IMTP.PA> shares jumped 6.4 percent to the top of the STOXX 600 after analysts at Exane BNP Paribas upgraded the mineral extracting and processing company to "outperform" from "neutral".
Shares in French oil storage and distribution company Rubis <RUBF.PA> fell 5 percent after Berenberg cut the stock to "hold" from "buy.
Czech utility CEZ <CEZP.PR> traded ex-dividend, down 5.3 percent.
(Reporting by Helen Reid, Editing by Kit Rees)