Last year's moves by the Federal Reserve Board to boost interest rates are dividing the weak from the strong when it comes to fourth-quarter earnings reports.

Barnett Banks Inc. managed to beat Wall Street consensus estimates although its earnings were down from the third quarter because of a $13 million securities loss.

"They are a lot stronger than they look," commented PaineWebber analyst Thomas D. McCandless.

But just the opposite may be true at Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bancshares, where full-year earnings were also up over 1993, but fourth- quarter results declined dismally from the year-earlier period.

Huntington is doubly vulnerable because of its large mortgage banking operation and its liability-sensitive balance sheet.

Smith Barney's Henry C. "Chip" Dickson says that's what happens when deposit growth is weak and banks have to depend on expensive sources of funding.

See stories on page 4.

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