International Busines Machines Corp., the computer manufacturing giant, yesterday reported fourth-quarter and annual proftis down from year-ago levels, while NCR Corp.; a competitor in the computer industry, reported increases.

Meanwhile a number of large commercial bank holding companies reported higher earnings for both the fourth quarter and all of 1979. Among them was Manufacturers Hanover Corp., the nation's fourth largest.

Citing high volume in shipments of equipment, IBM attributed the declines in net income to customer preference for leasing rather than outright purchase, to currency-exchange losses and to higher "costs and expenses resulting from inflation and from the company's ongoing buildup of resources."

IBM reported net income of $1.008 billion ($1.73 a share) on revenues of $6.83 billion in the last quarter of 1979. A year earlier, the company reported net of $1.014 billion ($1.74) on revenues of $6.44 billion. Year-to-year, net income fell 0.6 percent in the 1979 quarter, while revenues rose 6.1 percent.

For the year, IBM reported net income of $3.01 billion ($5.16) on revenues of $22.86 billion compared with 1978 earnings of $3.11 billion ($5.32) on revenues of $21.08 billion. Year-to-year, net income fell 3.2 percent in 1979, while revenues rose 8.5 percent.

NCR reported 1979 fourth-quarter net income totaled $98.35 million ($3.68 a share) on revenues of $987.86 million. In the 1978 fourth quarter, the company had net income of $89.99 million ($3.34) on revenues of $852.97 million. The latest quarter's net was 9 percent ahead of the previous year's, and revenues were ahead by 16 percent, the company said.

Net income for 1979 totaled $234.60 million ($8.78) on revenues of $3.00 billion, NCR said. The company reported net income from continuing operations in 1978 as $124.27 million ($7.22) on revenues of $2.61 billion. The 1979 net was 21 percent ahead of the previous year's, and revenues were 15 percent above earlier levels.

The quarterly and annual profits and revenues were records, the company said.

NCR Chairman William S. Anderson said the latest quarterly results reflected progress in overcoming a shortage of electronic components that reduced shipments of computer terminals in the third quarter.

First Chicago Corp., owner of First National Bank of Chicago, bucked the bank holding company profits trend, reporting operating earnings in 1979 of $115.4 million, down 11.9 percent from $131.10 million in 1978.

The company blamed the decline on low or negative spreads on interest costs, particularly overseas -- meaning it paid more to acquire funds than it received to lend.

Manufacturers Hanover Copr., of New York reported record operating earnings of $211.13 million for 1979, an increase of 16.3 percent from $181.7 million a year earlier. Per-share earnings rose 14.9 percent to $6.41 in 1979 from $5.58 in 1978.

Bankers Trust New York Corp. had record operating earnings of $114.5 million in 1979, up $31.9 million from 1978. Per-share earnings rose 45 percent to $9.37 from $6.47.

Security Pacific Corp., of Los Angeles also reported record operating earnings of $164.5 million in 1979, up 24 percent from $132.99 million the year before. Per-share earnings rose 15 percent to $5.97 from $5.18.

Wells Fargo & Co., of San Francisco said it had record income before securities transactions in 1979 of $130.2 million ($5.75 a share) compared with $115.8 million ($5.16) in 1978.

Crocker National Corp., of San Francisco had record 1979 operating earnings of $89.3 million ($6.69 a share) compared with earnings also reported an extraordinary gain of $27.7 million from the sale of its Los Angeles headquarters building.