Earnings are expected to slide 4.8 percent in the third quarter versus the same period of 2014. But there's at least one saving grace amid the anticipated weakness.
"As we go through earnings season, it's going to be commodity impact versus noncommodity impact," Oppenheimer's head of portfolio strategy, Andrew Burkly, said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation." "There's a huge gap between, for example, the energy sector, and areas that have very little impact from commodities, like financials, health care and consumer discretionary."
Indeed, while analysts expect energy companies to report an overall earnings decline of 65 percent, and the materials sector to report a 20 percent drop, consumer discretionary stocks should see year-over-year earnings growth of 10 percent (per FactSet).
"That gap is one of the widest we've even seen," Burkly said.
And when it comes to the strength of the overall economy, strong consumer discretionary earnings may be sending a stronger positive signal than the negative signal weak energy company earnings send, particularly because energy companies have been weighed down by sliding global oil prices.
"When we talk about overall earnings for the market being down, it sounds really negative," but the headline number makes the results sound more bearish than they really look, said Burkly.
Nonetheless, when 5 out of the 10 S&P sectors are projected to see earnings drop, it's never a good thing.