Continental Airlines had higher earnings for the second quarter but sharply lower earnings for the first half, Chairman Robert F. Six said yesterday.

Six said the strike against United Airlines and the grounding of the DC10 airliners distorted second-quarter results and made the comparison with last year difficult.

The airline reported second-quarter earnings of $11.64 million (77 cents a share) on revenue of $240.62 million compared with $9.25 million (62 cents) on revenue of $188.2 million in the same period last year.

However, earnings for the first half of 1978 totalled $7.09 million (47 cents) on revenue of $444.62 million compared with $13.3 million (90 cents) on revenue of $363.53 million a year ago.

Six said Continental's 1978 first-half profits included an after-tax gain of $19.35 million from proceeds received as the result of the loss of an aircraft. The adjustment increased first-half per-share earnings to $2.21.

Emerson Electric Co. earned 88 cents a share in its third quarter ended June 30, up from 77 cents a year earlier, as sales rose to $692.25 million from $576.68 million. Net income climbed to $53.02 million from $45.59 million

For the nine months, Emerson earned $150.63 million ($2.53 a share) on sales of $1.922 billion compared with $130.48 million ($2.21) a year earlier on sales of $1.674 billion.

Chairman Charles L. Knight said he expected Emerson to do even better in the final quarter.

Times Mirror Co. said strong gains by its newspaper publishing group helped lift its second-quarter earnings by 5.8 percent and revenues by 10.3 percent.

Times-Mirror, publisher of the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers, said it earned $38.5 million ($1.4 a share) in the second quarter compared with $36.4 million ($1.05) a year eariler. Revenues rose to $450 million from $408 million in the second quarter of 1978.

1first-half earnings were $66.8 million ($1.97) compared with $63.3 million ($1.82) in the first half of last year. Revenues were $792.5 million, up from $713 million in the first half of 1978.

Besides strong performances by its newspaper group, Times-Mirror said its cable television unit helped improve earnings. It said a lower federal income tax rate and a reduction in the number of outstanding shares of its common stock also favorably influenced earnings.

Helped by the additional revenues of Friendly Ice Cream Corp., Hershey Foods Corp. earned 74 cents a share in the second quarter, up from 45 cents a year ago.

Sales spurted to $249.94 million from $151.81 million, and net income, to $10.47 million from $6.17 million.

For the half, Hershey earned $22.83 million ($1.61 a share) on sales of $527.79 million compared with $16.49 million ($1.20) a year earlier on sales of $342.7 million.

Hershey also raised the quarterly dividend on common stock to 35 cents a share from 32 1/2 cents, payable Sept. 14 to holders of record Aug. 24.

Vice Chairman William Dearden said Hershey's original business, chocolate candy bars and coca, was a particularly strong contributor to the gains.

F&M Schaefer Corp., a brewing firm cut its loss in the second quarter to $1.45 million from $8.86 million a year ago in spite of a drop in sales to $41.9 million from $51.7 million.

For the first half, the loss was $3.41 million on sales of $76.67 million compared with $11.86 million a year ago on sales of $87.6 million.

President William J. Schoen pointed out that the much larger losses last year included the cost of closing a brewery in Baltimore. The company is deferring payment of long-term interest until later in the year but the accounting rules require it to be included in current losses. The deferred interest accrued this year amounts to $2.62 million.

He said Schaefer is trying to reduce its $96 million debt and noted that Stroh Brewery Co. of Detroit, which owns 8 1/2 percent of Schaeffer, has acquired $20 million worth of Schaefer debentures convertible into an additional 29 percent of the shares.