UPDATE 1-Mexico's Cemex reports first quarterly profit since 2009

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MEXICO CITY, July 18 (Reuters) - Mexico's Cemex, one of the world's largest cement companies, on Friday reported second-quarter profit of $76 million, its first quarterly profit since the financial crisis in 2009.

The results beat analysts' expectations of a loss of $79 million, helped by a gain on derivatives tied to Cemex's share price as well as a pickup in cement sales in many of its markets.

Cemex reported core profit, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), of $737 million, up from $730 million in the year-earlier period. The result was below analysts' estimates of $768 million.

Net sales totaled $4.2 billion, up 4 percent from the April-June period last year, helped by higher prices and a pick-up in sales volumes in the United States, Mediterranean, South and Central America and in the Caribbean and Asia.

Sales in Mexico, which account for more than one-third of total revenue, fell 4 percent, reflecting the weak economic environment in Latin America's No. 2 economy.

Cemex shares closed at 16.83 pesos on Thursday. The stock rose 9.5 percent in the second quarter, giving Cemex a gain of $76.9 million from its derivative position.

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Franklin Paul and Jeffrey Benkoe)