Without one-off gains, profits were down 1 percent for the quarter, with 274 companies reporting, CAL Research said in a report.
But it was a recovery from 29 percent fall in the September quarter.
In the calendar year 2013, aggregate profits were down 13 percent to 170 billion rupees from a year earlier.
In the fourth quarter revenues of firms other than banks, finance and insurance companies were up 12 percent to 511 billion rupees, which indicates a partial recovery in consumer spending, CAL Research said.
Sri Lanka is recovering from a balance of payments crisis in 2011/2012 which was triggered by excessive loans taken by state energy enterprises to subsidize energy and ultimately accommodated with central bank credit.
Profits at commercial banks fell 16 percent hit by loan losses, especially in gold-backed loans. Loan loss charges rose to 4.7 billion rupees in the quarter from 3.5 billion a year earlier.
Loan books however grew 16 percent and net interest margins fell 30 basis points to 4.4 percent.
Profits at finance companies and other financial institutions had grown 30 percent with net interest margins remaining flat at 9.6 percent, the report said.
Insurance firms had seen profits grown 30 percent from a year earlier, with gross written premiums growing 7 percent.
The bank, finance and insurance sector made up 34 percent of total profits and was up 0.9 percent to 17.8 billion rupees.
Beverage food and tobacco sector profits were up 19 percent to 6.2 billion rupees with most coming from Ceylon Tobbaco and Distilleries Corporation.
Profits at diversified companies fell 4 percent to 8.2 billion rupees.
Telecoms were up 55 percent to 2.6 billion rupees with revenues up 8 percent.
Motor sector earnings were up 100 percent, hotel and travel up 32 percent, manufacturing was up 0.2 percent, plantations were down 22 percent and healthcare was down 61 percent.
Construction and engineering was down 15 percent (mainly due to Colombo Dockyard), Chemicals and Pharma was down 38 percent.