2015 earnings: First drop since the financial crisis?

As third-quarter earnings season gets underway, expectations for full-year earnings have turned negative.

According to data from S&P Investment Advisory Services, estimates for Q3, Q4 and 2015 have all been revised down in the past week. Earnings expectations for 2015 have turned from 0.2 percent growth to a 0.9 percent decline. Full-year earnings haven't fallen since 2009, when earnings dropped 9 percent.

Meanwhile, stocks have held on to recent gains, with the S&P 500 rising 1.5 percent on Thursday.

Erin Gibbs, equity chief investment officer of S&P Investment Advisory Services, said she thinks the market may be underestimating poor earnings growth. Although estimates generally see more swings during earnings season, Gibbs said, the bleak revisions could be cause for concern.

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"Right now, the decline in earnings has been so great that it's actually pushed forward valuations up above levels that we've seen over the past two months," Gibbs said Thursday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

She said the S&P is currently trading at 16.5 times forward earnings, but could easily fall back to 15.5 times forward earnings as investors see continued contractions in earnings.

"If this trend continues, particularly as we move through Q3, we could really see a downturn," Gibbs said.

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However, Larry McDonald of Societe Generale said poor earnings could actually be good news for stocks, if it prompts the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low to accommodate a weaker economy.

"We've had Fed policy influencing stock prices for six years now, and even though we have a problem with earnings, a dovish Fed supports stock prices," McDonald said Thursday on "Trading Nation."

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Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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