Earnings are old news, and forward guidance is the real key, Tom Lee, co-founder of equity research firm Fundstrat Global Advisors, said Friday.
First-quarter earnings start to trickle in next week, and they are not looking good thanks to this year's strong dollar and low oil prices.
"I think delivered results are going to stink," Lee told CNBC's "Worldwide Exchange" on Friday. "It's not a surprise we're having an earnings recession."
Lee said he is not expecting anything shocking from earnings. He noted the strong dollar likely took a toll on multinational companies in particular. But investors should look to forward guidance instead as the real bellwether, Lee said,
"It's not what people know. It's what people will be surprised with," he said. "I think they're going to be surprised with the guidance."