(Adds detail on revised GDP)
* Q4 capex +4.3 pct yr/yr, seasonally-adjusted 3.1 pct qtr/qtr
* Suggests upward revision to revised Q4 GDP data out March 8
* Recurring profits +0.9 pct yr/yr
TOKYO, March 1 (Reuters) - Japanese companies raised their pace of investment in plant and equipment in October-December, suggesting the government will revise up its initial estimate of economic growth for the fourth quarter.
Capital expenditure in October-December rose 4.3 percent from the same period a year earlier, slightly faster than a 4.2 percent annual expansion in July-September due to an acceleration in investment by manufacturers.
Excluding software, capital expenditure climbed 3.1 percent from the previous quarter on a seasonally-adjusted basis, following a 2.1 percent quarterly increase in July-September, finance ministry data showed on Thursday.
A preliminary estimate showed Japan's economy grew by an annualized 0.5 percent in October-December.
That marked eight straight quarters of growth, the longest such run since a 12-quarter stretch between April-June 1986 and January-March 1989 during Japan's economic bubble.
The increase in capital expenditure suggests this figure could be revised up, which would ease concern about the economy following a weaker-than-expected reading of industrial production in January.
"The capex data points to an upward revision to gross domestic product growth," said Yusuke Ichikawa, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute.
"I expect capex to remain healthy as companies invest to export more goods. External demand is strong, so I'm optimistic that the economy will grow this year."
Revised gross domestic product (GDP) for October-December is due on March 8 at 0850 JST (2350 GMT March 7).
In preliminary GDP data, capital expenditure rose 0.7 percent, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of gains in a sign of companies' willingness to invest.
Many economists remain optimistic that the economy can continue to grow, but recent economic data paints a mixed picture as industrial output fell more than expected in January and the Purchasing Managers Index showed a slight slowdown in corporate activity. (Reporting by Stanley White Editing by Joseph Radford)