Is the bottom for the oil sector near?

Ripple effect of oil drop
Ripple effect of oil drop   

The bottom for energy stocks will come when investors feel they can't own them at any price—and that point is close at hand, Tom Lee, founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors, said Monday.

Fears about the energy sector's debt exposure and the oil-linked debt of countries around the world is currently fueling selling, he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"I think in people's minds this is becoming so scary, they've got to sell everything at every cost, and I think that's how you get close to a bottom," he said.

Lee reiterated his belief that oil could surprise to the upside next year after the selloff.

Read MoreLow oil prices equals instability: Top hedge fund manager

Conversely, Merrill Lynch sees oil prices remaining low for an extended period as U.S. producers continue to pump. That will add to oversupply, translating into a tough year for the energy sector, said Christopher Wolfe, chief investment officer at Merrill Lynch's private banking and investment group.

Pros & cons of oil slump
Pros & cons of oil slump   

Investors should brace for a dip in S&P earnings next year as the energy sector absorbs the impact of lower oil prices, but the cost of crude should eventually contribute to multiple expansion, Wolfe told "Squawk Box." High profitability in the United States, low inflation and the benefit of lower energy costs at the end of the year are likely to produce "pretty good" profit margins for U.S. companies, he added.

At the same time, Wolfe sees the oil patch's impact on high-yield markets remaining contained. Lending to the U.S. energy sector is estimated to account for about 17 to 20 percent of the high-yield debt market.

Read MoreOil will 'absolutely' continue to fall: Dennis Gartman

The Federal Reserve is likely to see lower oil prices as a positive for growth, as it amounts to a tax cut for consumers, said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, on "Squawk Box."

Looking at recent job gains, Shepherdson sees the central bank forecasting a lower unemployment rate and dropping language that it will wait a considerable period of time before it acts on interest rates. He believes unemployment will dip below 5 percent by next year, at which point the Fed will try to get ahead of inflation.

"You can't be sitting with policy at this wild extreme of easiness with unemployment with a four handle," he said.

Lee said such a move by the Fed or expectations would be positive for spending because it would incentivize consumers to make long-term purchases such as cars before prices climb.