Eastman Kodak Co. yesterday reported the first quarter of 1978 showed the largest profit in any March quarter and the biggest quarter in the last decade.

The figures released by the Rochester-based photographic firm showed the company got off to a better start than in 1973, when its profits for the full year were a record $653.5 million ($4.05 a share).

Earnings from operations in the quarter rose 51 percent over the first quarter of 1977 to $265.4 million, while pretax earniongs of $262 million increased 42 percent, the company statement said.

Worldwide net earnings for the first three months ending March 19 were $141 million (87 cents), up from $94.2 million (58 cebts)in 1977. Consolidated worldwide sales advanced 15 percenfor the quarter to $1.38 billion from $1.2 billion a year ago.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the nation's largest tire marker, reported record first-quarter revenues yesterday, but a dip in earnings of nearly 38 percent from the first three months of 1977.

Revenues totaled $1.66 billion, with net income of $36.7 million (51 cents a share) for the first quarter compared with revenues of $1.58 billion and record net income of $59.2 million (82 cents) in the same period a year ago.

Goodyear Chairman charles Pilliod Jr. said a "strong comeback" in March helped offset reduced profit margins in the first two months that were attributed in large part to severe weather and the coal strike.

United Technologies and 8.2 percent in sales for the first quarter of the year.

It said improved results were ach Inc., yesterday reported gains of 15.8 percent in profits quarter of the year.

It said improved results were achieved because the company had a large backlog and is engaged in diversified markets.

For the quarter ended March 31, the company had a profit of $52.9 million ($1.14 a share) on sales of $1.5 billion. In the 1977 period, profits were $45.7 million ($1) on sales of $1.4 billion.

Union Pacific Corp., a railroad holding firm, yesterday reported an 18 percent gain in first-quarter profits to $56.1 million ($1.18 a share) compared with $47.6 million ($1.01) a year ago. Revenues climbed to $686.1 million from $602.6 million.

Chairman James Evan said railroad profits were up 24 percent from a year ago and the Rocky Mountain Energy Division had a 79 percent gain. But profits of tis Champlin Petroleum Co. fell 20 percent because of a price squeeze.

First-quarter profits of McDonnell Douglas Corp., an aircraft builder rose to $1.02 cents a share in the first quarter from 73 cents a year earlier. The gain included 12 cents a share from the sale of real estate.

Net income was $39.6 million on revenues of $986.8 million compared with $28 million a year earlier on revenues of $759.3 million.

The firm's order backlog rose to $4.61 billion from $2.93 billion and the total backlog climbed to $6.88 billion from $5.89 billion.