Marriott Corp. said yesterday its second-quarter earnings fell 31 percent, although the results were sharply skewed by the company's sale of various divisions over the past two quarters and a one-time gain last year.

The Bethesda-based company reported earnings of $46 million (46 cents per share) in the second period compared with $67 million (59 cents) in the same period last year. Sales grew 4 percent to $1.8 billion.

Comparing the company's earnings from continuing operations in each quarter is difficult because Marriott did not fully detail the profit contributed by operations that were sold. However, a company spokesman said earnings per share would have been 41 cents in the second quarter of 1989 if Marriott were configured as it is today.

Marriott sold its airline catering business late last year. In April, the company sold its Roy Rogers fast-food chain, which contributed $12 million to its profit in last year's second quarter.

For the first half of 1990, Marriott said its net income was $74 million (72 cents per share) vs. $113 million ($1) last year. Sales during the first half were $3.5 billion, up 3.7 percent.

Analyst Joseph Doyle of Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. described Marriott's earnings as "soft" but said they were about in line with expectations, given the saturated hotel market. Marriott's stock, which has flirted with its 52-week low in recent days, closed at $22.25 a share yesterday, up 12 1/2 cents.