MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf shares rise as focus shifts to corporate earnings

    * Nine of eleven Saudi Arabian banks rise
    * Saudi Aramco closes at 34.8 riyals
    * Qatar National Bank gains ahead of FY results
    * Pioneers Holding sees biggest fall since Sept.

    By Maqsood Alam
    Jan 13 (Reuters) - Gulf stocks traded higher on Monday, extending their
rally to a third day, supported by easing U.S.-Iran tensions and ahead of
corporate earnings.
    The stock markets across the Gulf had fallen sharply on Jan. 8 after Iran
retaliated against the U.S. drone strike that killed an Iranian commander.
    Saudi Arabia's index rose 0.8% as Arab National Bank
jumped 4.9% and Banque Saudi Fransi advanced 2.7%.
    However, oil giant Saudi Aramco slipped 0.1% to 34.8 riyals
($9.28). Aramco shares have been volatile amid U.S.-Iran tensions and fell to 34
riyals on Jan. 8, its lowest since trading began on Dec. 11.
    "GCC corporate profits are expected to increase by around 6.5% this year
with profits in Saudi Arabia forecast to be up 7.1%," said Tarek Fadlallah of
Nomura Asset Management Middle East, citing a Marmore Research note.
    In Qatar, the main index ended 0.6% higher as the Gulf's largest
lender, Qatar National Bank, increased 1.4% ahead of its earnings
announcement on Tuesday.
    Qatar Insurance added 1.7% following the appointment of Salem
Khalaf Al Mannai as its chief executive officer.
    Dubai's index gained 0.8% as Emirates NBD and Dubai
Islamic Bank increased 1.9% and 1.1% respectively.
    Abu Dhabi's index was up 0.6%, with First Abu Dhabi Bank
gaining 0.7% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank rising 1.3%.
    But, Egypt's blue-chip index slipped 0.8% after three straight days
of gains, with market heavyweight Commercial International Bank Egypt
shedding 1.2%.
    Pioneers Holding dropped 7.3%, its biggest intraday fall since
Sept.22. The financial services provider said its board had approved a
share-swap ratio set by a financial adviser for increasing stake in five
subsidiaries to 90%.
    Egyptian exchange data showed that foreign investors were net sellers.
    Stock markets in Kuwait and Oman are closed following the death of Oman's
Sultan Qaboos bin Said and will resume trading on Tuesday and Wednesday,
 SAUDI ARABIA          rose 0.8% to 8,441 points
 ABU DHABI            was up 0.6 % to 5,114 points
 DUBAI                  gained 0.8 % to 2,776 points
 QATAR                added 0.6% to 10,568 points
 EGYPT                  fell 0.8% to 13,698 points
 BAHRAIN              edged up 0.1 % to 1,602 points

($1 = 3.7514 riyals)

 (Reporting by Maqsood Alam in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)