NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks opened lower this morning after Microsoft and Sears posted better-than-expected results for the final three months of 1997, but compounded worries about 1998's profit prospects.

At 10 a.m. on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 54.30 at 7,740.10.

Broader indicators were also pulling back for the second straight session.

Microsoft was up 1 1/8 at 138 1/8 as the most active Nasdaq issue after reporting late Wednesday that its profit surged 52 percent in the final three months of 1997, beating analysts forecasts. The software giant cautioned, however, that the company is starting to feel the effects of the Asian financial crisis and that its projected revenues could be off by up to $300 million over the next six months.

Sears, meanwhile, fell 1 13/16 to 44 1/8 as the Dow's weakest component after reporting today that its fourth-quarter earnings fell 5.5 percent as it sharply increased its provision for bad consumer debt. The results still exceeded expectations, but the retailer warned that its first-quarter earnings would fall from year-ago levels.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by nearly a 3-to-1 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 72.20 million shares, about even with Wednesday's early pace.

The Standard & Poor's 500 list was down 8.01 at 962.77, and the NYSE composite index was down 4.13 at 503.77.

The Nasdaq composite index was down 6.69 at 1,581.23, and the American Stock Exchange composite index was down 4.25 at 665.19.

Overseas, Tokyo's Nikkei stock average fell 1.7 percent. In afternoon trading, Frankfurt's DAX index was down 1.5 percent and London's FT-SE 100 was down 0.7 percent.

Stocks fell sharply Wednesday as a stream of healthy fourth-quarter earnings reports failed to overshadow an IBM warning about further profit damage from the Asian crisis.