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UPDATE 1-Cemex reports narrower fourth-quarter loss

MEXICO CITY, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Mexico's Cemex, one of the world's biggest cement companies, reported a smaller fourth-quarter loss on Thursday as cement sales picked up in its foreign markets.

The Monterrey-based company said its loss had narrowed to $255 million from $494 million in the year-earlier quarter.

Net sales rose by 4 percent to $3.9 billion, helped by a pickup in the United States and Europe, although sales in Mexico, which make up about one-fifth of the company's total sales, dipped 6 percent from the year-earlier quarter.

Infrastructure spending in Mexico last year was slow to get under way after a new government took office.

The company said operating core profit, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, was up 4 percent at $642 million.