NEW YORK (AP) _ The Associated Press and Time magazine have been cited for their coverage of the October stock market crash among the awards for excellence in business journalism from John Hancock Financial Services.

Awards announced Tuesday also went to Mark Hornung of Crain's Chicago Business, Daniel Akst of The Wall Street Journal, Guillermo X. Garcia and James Pinkerton of the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman, Andi Esposito of the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and James Flanigan of the Los Angeles Times.

The Boston-based financial services company has presented the awards annually for 21 years to recognize ''lucid reporting, interpretation and writing of business and financial news,'' said Hancock Chairman E. James Morton.

The winners, whose work was judged to have improved the public's understanding of business issues during 1987, will be honored at a dinner in New York in November at a program co-sponsored by John Hancock and Fordham University's Graduate School of Business.

The honors carry a cash award of $5,000 in each of the seven categories.

The winners are:

-The Associated Press, led by Business Editor Michael Millican, in the syndicated and news service writers category for coverage of Black Monday, Oct. 19, and the aftermath of the market crash. The stories filed during a 36- hour period, through midnight Oct. 21, represented the work of reporters and editors in New York and around the world.

-Time magazine in the category of writers for national magazines of general interest for a special team report on the market crash and its implications for the world economy and individual consumers.

-Hornung of Crain's Chicago Business in the category of writers for financial and business newspapers and magazines for an article on the ill- fated efforts of Richard Ferris to build Allegis Corp. into an integrated travel empire.

-Akst of The Wall Street Journal among newspapers with circulation above 300,000 for an article detailing the rise and fall of ZZZZ Best Co. and the alleged deceptions of the California carpet cleaning company's founder, Barry Minkow.

-Garcia and Pinkerton of the Austin American-Statesman among newspapers with circulation between 100,000 and 300,000 for a nine-part series examining Mexico's struggle to overcome its economic problems and the impact on the United States.

-Esposito of the Worcester Telegram among newspapers with circulation of less than 100,000 for an eight-part series exploring the business ties that link central Massachusetts and Japan. The project focused on high-technology companies and their problems competing with the Japanese.

-Flanigan of the Los Angeles Times among financial and business columnists for his series of columns about the stock market crash, the falling dollar and Japan's influence on the world economy.

Winners were selected by a panel of judges consisting of Cheryl Hall, business editor of the Dallas Morning News and president of the Society of American Business Editors & Writers; James Plante, managing director of news support services for NBC News and president of the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi; Lee Roderick, Washington bureau chief for Scripps League Newspapers and president of the National Press Club; William Small, director for the Center of Communications of Fordham University's business school; and Ben Weberman, senior editor of Forbes magazine and president of the New York Financial Writers' Association.