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Belski: Notion of 2015 earnings recession is 'bunk'

U.S. companies are under-promising so they can over-deliver this earnings season, Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, said on Thursday.

Estimates for S&P 500 earnings growth have been revised down significantly since the beginning of the year. Companies in the index are now expected to turn in negative growth of 5 percent, compared with a forecast for 4.3 percent growth at the beginning of the year.

"This whole notion of an earnings recession is bunk, as my grandmother used to say," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

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Belski called the practice of issuing earnings forecasts that companies know they can beat a game. Gloomy full-year forecasts are reminiscent of the outlook in 2014, he said, noting that those premonitions did not come to pass. The S&P 500 rose 12.5 percent in 2014.

Earnings estimates have not fully priced in the benefit of lower energy costs, Belski said. Oil prices have fallen about 50 percent from their highs in June.

"No one's talking about lower input costs the second half of the year," he said. "If you have lower natural gas prices and lower oil prices, that's going to help the manufacturing sector."

Earnings growth estimates for consumer staples, one of the sectors expected to reap the benefits of lower prices at the pump, have been revised down from 14 percent to 6 percent.

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Ashwani Kaul, CEO of Kaul Advisory Group, sees S&P 500 earnings falling 4.6 percent, making his one of the bleakest outlooks. The silver lining is that earnings should actually grow 5 percent excluding energy and materials, both commodity plays, he said.

He continued to say the negative growth period should only last one or two quarters.

"We expect earnings to pick up in the third and fourth quarter. I think once the whole commodities and currency stuff plays out, and things become more stable, there are some good opportunities in the later half of the year," he told "Squawk Box."

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