US STOCKS may struggle to return to firmer footing this week if anti-government riots in Egypt destabilise the Middle East, keeping investors on edge.

Cautious trading could also come if earnings do not outperform and erode optimism about profits. The government’s January jobs report on Friday will highlight the week’s economic data.

Monday could see a bounce-back after Friday’s losses, followed by more consolidation, said Matt McCormick, a portfolio manager at Cincinnati-based Bahl & Gaynor.

Next week, 102 S&P 500 companies are expected to report, including Dow Chemical and United Parcel Service.