RCA Corp., reported that its full-year and fourth-quarter profits rose 50% and 37%, respectively.

The New York-based firm said that its full-year results reflect a reduction in the first quarter of $175 million for the company's phase-out of production of video-disc players and the addition of $75.7 million from a change in its accounting methods.

The company also said that its broadcasting unit saw earnings rise 40% on a 13% gain in revenue, with all of its operating divisions participating in the gains.

The improvements in the company's electronics segment came from consumer electronics, solid-state devices and government systems, it said.

Among consumer products, color television receivers and videocassette recorders have sold well, but severe price competition had adversely affected operating margins, RCA said.

The electronics segment also benefited from the company's decision to stop making video-disc players, it said.

RCA attributed its improved fourth-quarter results to strong gains in its electronics and broadcasting operations.

RCA, which produces electronic products and owns the NBC television network and Hertz car rental chain, said revenue for the three months rose 12.5%.

For the year, the company reported that revenue was up 12.6% from the year before.

American Express

For all of 1984, American Express Co. said earnings rose 18% to $609.6 million on a 32% increase in revenue.

The company also reported that it earned $169.5 million in the fourth quarter, sharply reversing a year-earlier loss of $21.9 million.

The company said its Shearson Lehman/American Express Inc. investment unit reported a difficult quarter due to the relatively low level of individual investor interest in the securities and commodities markets, which lowered commission revenue.

The New York-based firm said that its travel-related services and international banking groups contributed to the fourth-quarter rebound.

American Express' insurance unit, led by Fireman's Fund Insurance Cos., also recovered in the latest quarter, earning $10.2 million, against a $141 million loss a year-earlier.

First Interstate

Following the trend of higher quarterly earnings among major banking firms, First Interstate Bancorp reported a 12.5% gain in fourth-quarter net and an 11.7% rise in full-year profits.

The Los Angeles-based firm, the nation's seventh-largest bank holding company, said net income in the quarter ended last Dec. 31 totaled $74.8 million, compared to $66.4 million in the year-ago period.

J. J. Pinola, chairman and chief executive, said the earnings growth stemmed from gains in both net interest income and income from other services and activities. However, provisions for loan losses grew to $74.4 million from $69.5 million a year ago.

For the full year, the banking company said its profit rose to $276.3 million from $247.4 million in 1983.

First Interstate Bank of California, the company's largest subsidiary, reported gains of 20.7% and 16% for fourth-quarter and full-year net, respectively. Fourth-quarter earnings for the California bank rose to $40.7 million from $33.7 million, while full-year net rose to $125.1 million from $107.9 million.

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