Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A)  rose to the top of the FTSE 100 leaderboard Tuesday after the group posted better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and confirmed a dividend of 47 cents per share.

The oil giant said CCS earnings attributable to shareholders came in at $2.79 billion in the third quarter, well ahead of the market's expectation of $1.79 billion and the $1.45 billion recorded in the three months ending in June. Cash flow from operating activities, the company said, was $8.5 billion, significantly higher than the $2.3 billion recorded in the second quarter. 

RDS shares added 3% in early London trading, changing hands at around 2,102 pence each and extending the six-month gain past 18%. 

"Shell delivered better results this quarter, reflecting strong operational and cost performance. But lower oil prices continue to be a significant challenge across the business, and the outlook remains uncertain," CEO Ben van Beurden said. "Our investment plans and portfolio actions are focused firmly on reshaping Shell into a world-class investment case at all points in the oil-price cycle, through stronger returns and improved free cash flow per share. We are making good progress towards this aim in spite of current challenging market conditions."

Basic earnings per share for the three month period, Shell said, were pegged at 17 cents and the quarterly dividend was confirmed at 47 cents per share, largely in line with market expectations.

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