Chase Manhattan Corp., the parent of the nation's fourth largest commercial bank, reported yesterday a 31 percent increase in income for the fourth quarter.

For the full year, consolidated income was 55 percent higher than 1978, the bank holding company reported. Chase said it had increased income from interest rates as well higher operating income from other sources, compared to 1978.

For the fourth quarter of 1979, income before securities transactions was $76.7 million ($2.23 a share) against $58.7 million ($1.67) a year earlier. w

Chase said, however, that the fourth-quarter results were 6 percent below the 1979 third-quarter income of $81.2 million ($2.37) because of lower overseas interest income due to narrower interest rate spreads and higher operating expenses.

For 1979, consolidated income before securities transactions came to $611.2 million ($9.07) up from $187.2 million ($5.59) in 1978.

Bendix Corp. reported record firstquarter earnings of $972.2 million ($1.78.), a 6.1 percent increase over the first quarter of the last fiscal year.

Net income for the first period totaled $41.2 million, 9.6 percent from the year-ago level, company officials said.

William M. Agee, chairman and chief executive officer, attributed income from the company's investment in Asarco Inc. and from "substantially higher profits" of the aerospace-electronics and industrial-energy businesses.

He said profits from Bendix' automotive and forest products declined sharply, "reflecting general downturns in certain markets they serve."

Honeywell In., the computer and controls instruments maker, reported a 29.3 percent profit gain last year over 1978. Final quarter profit was up 11.8 percent.

Net income for the year was $260.5 million ($11.89) on revenues of $4.21 billion compared with $201.4 million ($9.41) in 1978 on revunes of $3.55 billion.

Fourth quarter net was $95.1 million ($3.84) on revenues of $1.23 billion, compared with $76.1 million ($3.54) a share, a year earlier on revenues of $1.03 billion.

The earnings for both the final quarters and both years included tax loss carr-forwards. Without these additions, profit for the year would have been $10.95 a share against $8.48 in 1978, and for the final quarter, it would have been $3.07 a share against $2.89.

Chairman Edson W. Spencer said foreign currency translation losses cut 1979 earnings by 41 cents a share and 1978 profit by 79 cents a share.

Spencer said computer business operating profit for the year was $152 million, up from $106 million in 1978, and environmental systems earnings rose to $326 million to $282 million.

TR Pickup: Burroughs Corp.

Burroughs Corp. reported record earnings, revenue, orders and backlogs for the fourth quarter and the full year of 1979.

Net earnings for 1979 were $305.5 million, a 21 percent increase over the

253.3 million in 1978, said Paul S. Mirabito, Burroughs chairman and chief executive officer. Fourth quarter earnings were up 19 percent, from $111.3 million to $132.5 million, he added.

For the year, net earnings were $7.45 per share, compared with $6.21 per share in 1978, Mirabito said. Net earnings per share for the fourth quarter of 1979 were $3.23, compared with $2.73 for the same quarter in the preceding year.

Worlwide revenue in 1979 was up 15 percent from $2.46 billion to $2.83 billion. Revenue from rental and service increased by 12 percent, while revenue from product sales increased 17 percent in 1979, Mirabito said.

Mirabito predicted that factory volumes, up strongly in 1979, will show further substantial growth in 1980. Burroughs is a large international supplier of computers and other business machines.