The Royal-Dutch Shell group, the world's second-largest oil company, said yesterday its third-quarter profits tumbled to $938.4 million from $1.728 billion.

The company said earnings declined because the value of huge stock inventories was reduced and currency translations had an adverse impact on results.

But even after stripping out these "artificial" influences, the world recession and accompanying oil glut lowered underlying profits by 23 percent to $789.6 million from $1.0224 billion.

Third-quarter revenues rose, however, to $19.5 billion from $19.4 billion in the July-September period last year.

Shell Oil scored a 23 percent gain in third-quarter profits and was the strongest feature in the Royal-Dutch's worldwide operations.

Outside North America all oil product sales were down 10 percent.

Royal-Dutch also announced a 2-for-1 stock split and the company's shares rose $1.44 to $108.44 in trading yesterday.

Bache Group Inc. more than tripled its earnings in the latest quarter, the financial company reported yesterday.

Bache said its earnings in the first fiscal quarter ended Oct. 31 rose 245 percent to $12.19 million from $3.54 million in the same period last year.

Earnings per share rose to $1.14 from 35 cents. Revenues were up 36 percent to $176.3 million from $129.57 million a year earlier.

The parent company of Bache, Halsey Stuart Shields Inc., a brokerage house, said the earnings were the highest for any quarter in the company's history. Earnings were boosted by sharply higher revenues from commissions due to more active trading and by investment banking and principal transactions.