NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Well, earnings season is certainly off to a mixed start, and it may be wise for investors to pay more attention to what's going on with the financials than with a tech titan like Google ( GOOG), which sets the trends, rather than getting swept up in them. As usual with the banks, it's difficult to figure out if JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) beat or missed Wall Street's expectations. Both the headline per share number of $1.02 per share and the revenue total of $24.4 billion were ahead of the consensus but the trick comes in figuring out which special items were and weren't included in the various analyst estimates. Judging by the 5% decline in the stock price Thursday though, it's fair to say folks with money at stake see the quarter as a disappointment. Evercore Partners, a JPMorgan bull with an overweight rating and a 12-month price target of $46, says the $1.02 per share profit includes special items adding up to a 13-cent gain, bringing core earnings down to 89 cents per share, below the firm's expectation of 92 cents. "Overall, results essentially as expected with slightly better revenue (spread/NIM net interest margins held up better while core fees worse) and expense control notable, while credit costs a bit higher than expected (with only modest reserve release) and capital strength maintained (with Tier 1 Common Basel III ratio of 7.7%) with even greater buybacks this quarter," Evercore observed. "Focus will be on management's guidance for 4Q and next year, which appears generally cautious, primarily around investment banking and NIM (though not unexpected given macro backdrop)." The headwinds are certainly stacked up for the banks in the fourth quarter as well. There's no reason to expect investment banking to snap out of third-quarter doldrums; the consumer business is still bracing for the full brunt of the Durbin amendment; mortgage defaults and foreclosures are still a formidable expense; lending is still sluggish because of weak housing and high unemployment; and implementing new fees risks raising the ire of customers and politicians alike. The list goes on and on.