Stocks of major Washington area corporations continued to outperform standard market measurements during the first quarter of 1979.

Marching steadily uphill since Jan. 1, with a breather during much of February before the climb continued, 30 stocks in an index established by the investment firm of Johnston, Lemon & Co. rose 11.2 percent, or more than 40 percent on an annualized basis.

By the end of March, the area stock index was at 100.954 compared with 90.783 when the year began.

During the same three months, the Standard & Poor's index of 500 New York Stock Exchange issues rose by 5.7 percent from 96.11 to 101.59. The Dow Jones average of 30 industrial, blue-chip stocks on the Big Board rose 7.1 percent from 805.01 to 862.18.

Among the 30 area corporation stocks included in the Johnston, Lemon index, 24 posted gains in the recent quarter and 6 were down (see adjacent table). Among the major percentage gainers:

Dart Drug Corp. of Landover, up 59 1/2 percent in the waste of a strong fiscal year ended Jan. 31, which saw profits jump to $2.5 million from $1.3 million in the previous comparable period. Dart's Crown Book discount stores are a big winner; 11 units now are open and several more are planned. Dart currently has 75 stores in the greater Washington region from Baltimore to Richmond.

Allegheny Airlines, based at National Airport, up 48.3 percent, partly because of speculation that the big domestic carrier (sixth largest in passenger volume) could be a merger or takeover candidate in the new free-market airline environment where consolidations are anticipated. But Allegheny is planning to expand on its own with a new name, US Air, and coast-to-coast routes.

B.F. Saul Real Estate Investment Trust of Chevy Chase, up 37.3 percent in the wake of Chairman B.F. Saul's forecast at the annual meeting recently that dividends soon should resume, that bank debts have been cut dramatically and that conversion of apartment complexes to condominiums promises significant profits.

Giant Food Inc., also in Landover, up 32 1/2 percent after a record year for sales and profits and a decision to bring about more efficiency by switching all food store checkout counters to electronic scanning.

Geico Corp., the new holding company for Government Employment Insurance Co., which also posted a year of record earnings although sluggish auto insurance sales remain troublesome. Geico is studying ways to use available cash for investing in other firms or starting new busineses.

On a dollar basis, the biggest gainners in the recent quarter were Giant, up $6.125; Southern Railway, which is talking merger with Norfolk & Western, up $6.125; American Security Corp., owner of American Security Bank, up $4; and Woodward & Lothrop, up $4, partially from speeculation that the retailer is an attractive takeover candidate.

Last week, the Johnston, Lemon index continued its climb, closing Friday at 101.982 (See weekly chart, Page M14). The index's record high was 108.603 last Sept. 13, and expected stock market gains in the current quarter could lead the index to surpass the old mark. Johnston, Lemon started the local index in 1974. It is an unweighted composite measure of 30 stocks using 1970 and 1971 average prices for a base period.(TABLE) (COLUMN)*2*Price(COLUMN)(COLUMN) (COLUMN)12/29/78(COLUMN)3/30/79(COLUMN) $ Change(COLUMN)% Change Allegheny Airlines(COLUMN) 7 1/4(COLUMN)10 3/4(COLUMN)+3 1/2(COLUMN)+48.3 American Security(COLUMN)25(COLUMN)29(COLUMN)+4(COLUMN)+16.0 Comsat(COLUMN)39 1/4(COLUMN)41 3/8(COLUMN)+2 1/8(COLUMN)+ 5.4 Criterion Ins.(COLUMN)19(COLUMN)19 1/2(COLUMN)+ 1/2(COLUMN)+ 2.6 Dart Drug(COLUMN) 5 1/4(COLUMN) 8 3/8(COLUMN)+3 1/8(COLUMN)+59.5 Drug Fair(COLUMN)10 3/4(COLUMN) 7 7/8(COLUMN)-2 7/8(COLUMN)-26.7 Federal National Mortage(COLUMN)16 1/4(COLUMN)15 3/4(COLUMN)- 1/2(COLUMN)- 3.1 Financial General(COLUMN)14 7/8(COLUMN)13 3/4(COLUMN)-1 1/8(COLUMN)- 7.6 First Virginia Bank(COLUMN) 6 1/4(COLUMN) 6 3/8(COLUMN)+ 1/8(COLUMN)+ 2.0 Garfinckel(COLUMN)18 7/8(COLUMN)19 3/8(COLUMN)+ 1/2(COLUMN)+ 2.6 Gian Food(COLUMN)18 7/8(COLUMN)25(COLUMN)+6 1/8(COLUMN)+32.5 Geico(COLUMN) 7(COLUMN) 9 1/4(COLUMN)+2 1/4(COLUMN)+32.1 Government Employees Life(COLUMN)13(COLUMN)13 5/8(COLUMN)+ 5/8(COLUMN)+ 4.8 International Bank(COLUMN)8 1/4(COLUMN)9 7/8(COLUMN)+1 3/4(COLUMN)+19.7 Macke(COLUMN) 8(COLUMN) 9 5/8(COLUMN)+1 5/8(COLUMN)+20.3 Marriott(COLUMN)12 1/8(COLUMN)13 1/2(COLUMN)+1 3/8(COLUMN)+11.3 Martin Marietta(COLUMN)30(COLUMN)33 5/8(COLUMN)+3 5/8(COLUMN)+12.1 Mortage Investors of(COLUMN)(COLUMN)(COLUMN)(COLUMN) Washington(COLUMN) 1 3/4(COLUMN) 2(COLUMN)+ 1/4(COLUMN)+14.3 Peoples Drug(COLUMN)10 3/4(COLUMN)11(COLUMN)+ 1/4(COLUMN)+ 2.3 Pepco(COLUMN)13 5/8(COLUMN)13 1/8(COLUMN)- 1/2(COLUMN)- 3.7 Quality Inns(COLUMN) 4 1/2(COLUMN) 4 3/4(COLUMN)+ 1/4(COLUMN)+ 5.6 Riggs National Bank(COLUMN)37 1/2(COLUMN)40 1/8(COLUMN)+ 3 5/8(COLUMN)+ 9.7 B.F. Saul(COLUMN) 6 3/8(COLUMN) 8 3/4(COLUMN)+ 2 3/8(COLUMN)+37.3 Southern Railway(COLUMN)46 5/8(COLUMN) 52 3/4(COLUMN)+6 1/8(COLUMN)+13.1 Suburban Bancorp(COLUMN)15 1/4(COLUMN) 16 5/8(COLUMN)+1 3/8(COLUMN)+ 9.0 United Services Life(COLUMN)16 1/8(COLUMN)14 1/2(COLUMN)-1 5/8(COLUMN)-10.1 Woodward & Lothrop(COLUMN)24(COLUMN)28(COLUMN)+4(COLUMN)+16.7 Washington Gas Light(COLUMN)22 7/8(COLUMN) 23 1/8(COLUMN)+ 1/4(COLUMN)- 1.1 Washington REIT(COLUMN)21(COLUMN)24(COLUMN)+3(COLUMN)+14.3 Washington Post(COLUMN)23 1/4(COLUMN)22 5/8(COLUMN)- 5/8(COLUMN)- 2.7(END TABLE)