European equity markets edged lower Tuesday as cautious sentiment ahead of next week's US Presidential elections offset strong factory data from China and better-than-expected earnings in the energy sector.

The Stoxx 600 index fell by around 0.3% by mid-morning in Europe and was quoted at around 3337.98 points. London's benchmark FTSE 100 , which opened 0.4% higher thanks in large part to blowout second quarter earnings from Royal Dutch Shell plc, (RDS.A)  , one of the index's biggest stocks, pared those gains and was little changed at 6959.68 my mid-session.

Shares in the oil giant rose more than 3%, extending its six-month gain to 18%, after it 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 well ahead of 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.

Royal Dutch Shell shares were quoted at 2,109.5 pence each in early London trading.

The rise offset a 1% decline for its rival, BP plc (BP) , which also posted better-than-expected third quarter earnings but saw its share price fall after the group trimmed capital expenditure plans. 

Standard Chartered plc, the U.K.-based investment bank with significant emerging markets exposure, was one of the major downside performers in early trading as its shares fell more than 6% following lower-than-expected third quarter earnings. 

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