* 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, respectively. 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)
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