UPDATE 1-Cognizant's profit, revenue beat estimates as clients spend more

(Adds analyst comparisons, details on strategy, share price)

Feb 7 (Reuters) - Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp's fourth-quarter profit and revenue beat analysts' estimates and the IT services firm gave an upbeat forecast for the first quarter, as healthcare and financial clients increased spending.

Teaneck, New Jersey-based Cognizant has been spending heavily to bolster its digital services, which have driven results in recent quarters. The company gets the bulk of its revenue from financial services and healthcare clients.

Cognizant said revenue from the financial services sector rose 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, while revenue from healthcare services climbed 12 percent.

Total revenue rose 10.6 percent to $3.83 billion, edging past analysts' average estimate of $3.82 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Cognizant forecast revenue of between $3.88 billion and $3.92 billion for the first quarter ending March. Analysts were expecting $3.88 billion.

The company recorded a net loss of $18 million in the fourth quarter, compared to a net income of $416 million a year earlier.

Results included a one-time expense of $617 million because of new U.S. tax laws.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1.03 per share, topping analysts' expectations of 97 cents per share.

Shares of Cognizant rose 1 percent in premarket trading on Wednesday. (Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)