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Finding bright spots in a gloomy earnings season

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters

The start of the third-quarter earnings season is here and experts believe it will not be pretty.

Earnings and revenues for companies in the S&P 500 are expected to decline 4.5 percent and 3 percent, respectively, from the same period last year, according to estimates from the Street.

"Just like in a number of past quarters, lower oil prices and the stronger dollar are depressing results significantly," Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategists told clients on Thursday.

Similarly, market watchers at Barclays warned on Monday that profit margins in the past 12 months fell by 60 basis points, noting that declines of this magnitude are "rare" when the economy is not entering a recession.

So what's the strategy for the weeks ahead?

In an exclusive interview for CNBC Pro subscribers, Lindsey Bell, senior analyst and earnings expert at S&P Capital IQ, shares her investment outlook.