General Electric Co., the nation's largest producer of electrical and electronic equipment, reported Wednesday that profits rose 13 percent to $341.5 million in the first quarter.

Net earnings, which amounted to $1.50 a share, compared to $303.4 million, or $1.33 a share, in the first quarter of 1979.

Sales totaled $5.88 billion, up 16 percent from $5.80 billion a year earlier.

GE Chairman Reginald Jones, in a statement issued from the Fairchild, Conn., corporate headquarters, said operations serving industrial and natural resource markets continued to show strong growth during the period.

Raytheon Corp. yesterday reported a 20 percent gain in first quarter profit to $1.57 a share from $1.31 a year earlier.

The 1979 results are restated to include Beech Aircraft Corp., which was acquired in February of this year.

Net income was $65.19 million on sales of $1.197 billion compared with $54.13 million a year ago on sales of $1.05 billion.

The company said its most significant growth was in electronics products but that sales of aircraft products, major appliances and other lines also were up.

J.P. Morgan & Co., parent of Morgan Guaranty Trust co., yesterday reported a 2 percent gain in profit for the first quarter before losses on security transactions.

The operating earnings were $70.78 million, up from $69.42 million a year ago. Net income was up 3.2 percent to $67.79 million ($1.66 a share) from $65.58 million ($1.61 a share) a year earlier. The operating earnings were $1.73 a share against $1.70 a year ago.

The operating profit was down 3.4 percent from that of the last quarter of 1979.

Net interest earnings were up 6.2 percent from a year ago and non-interest income was up 25 percent, but the company's effective taxes rose by $6.2 million and costs of virtually all operations rose sharply.

Inflated wages and other costs cut first quarter earnings of Whirlpool Corp., the appliance maker, to 62 cents a share from 73 cents a year ago in spite of a rise in sales to $547.32 million from $509.85 million, Chairman John H. Platte reported yesterday.

Net income was $22.31 million, down from $26.51 million.

Celanese Corp. earned $2.39 a share in the first quarter, up from $2.17 a year ago, President John D. Macomber told the annual meeting yesterday.

Net income grew to $36 million on sales of $847 million from $32 million a year ago on sales of $745 million.

The company also raised the quarterly dividend on common stock to 90 cents a share from 80 cents.

Macomber said strong chemical and cellulosic sales and good foreign sales caused the gains.

Mead Corp., the paper, plastics and forest products giant, said yesterday it earned $1.19 a share in the first quarter, up from $1.17 a year ago on 500,000 fewer shares. Sales rose to $650.41 million from $618.77 million.

Net income was $31 million in the first quarter compared with $29.96 million a year ago.

Chairman James McSwiney said soft demand from the automobile industry for plastics, the drop in home building and the fact that Mead discontinued certain operations caused the relatively small sales gain in the face of price boosts.

Caterpillar Tractor, which reported higher first quarter sales and earnings, said its share of the profit of its principal affiliate, Caterpillar Mitsubishi Ltd., increased to $11.1 million in the 1980 quarter from $8.1 million in the first quarter of 1979.

Domestic sales increased 10 percent in the quarter to $1.11 billion as dealers attempted to replenish nearly depleted machine inventories the company said.

Abnormally low inventories and weakening economic trends caused dealers' sales to decline in most major categories. However, Caterpillar noted that demand for diesel engines in the U.S. was strong, especially for larger models used in petroleum development and marine applications.

Sales outside the U.S. increased 8.3 percent in the quarter to $989 million, the company said.