Don't settle for ordinary quarterly reports.
I take a look at three companies that beat market expectations every week, since I believe that it's the biggest factor in a stock beating the market. Leaving Wall Street's pros with stunned expressions can be a good thing. It usually means that the companies have more in the tank than analysts figured. Capital appreciation typically follows.
Let's take a look at a few companies that humbled the pros over the past few trading days.
We can start with Brocade Communications (NASDAQ: BRCD ) .
Analysts expected the provider of fabric-based data-center networking solutions to earn less than it did a year earlier, but there was a strong trend working in the company's favor.
"[H]ave you seen Brocade's bottom-line performance lately?" I wondered ahead of its report. "It has managed to surpass Wall Street's income forecasts in each of the past eight quarters. If Brocade is able to stretch that streak to nine quarters, it might even entail earning more than it did a year earlier."
That's exactly how it all played out. Brocade's profit of $0.17 a share was ahead of both the $0.14 a share that analysts were forecasting and the $0.16 a share that it earned a year earlier.
Lowe's (NYSE: LOW ) also rolled up its sleeves and built a better quarter. Analysts figured that the country's second-largest home improvement retailer would crank out net income of $0.35 a share, flat with last year's showing.
Didn't the pros see how the leading player in wood-alternative decking and the top dog in hardwood flooring stand-alone retailing blew past prognostications earlier this earnings season? If they weren't paying attention then, Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) also came through with strong results a week earlier. Home Depot posted a robust 4.3% spike in comps, leading to better-than-expected results and juiced-up guidance.
Finally we have Qihoo 360 (NYSE: QIHU ) giving investors in Chinese Internet companies some hope. The company behind China's top Web browser posted an adjusted profit of $0.20 a share as revenue soared 77%. Wall Street was settling for earnings of $0.16 a share.
Qihoo 360 has been in the news in recent weeks. It rolled out a search engine in China this summer that's gaining traction at the expense of Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU ) . However, Qihoo 360 is holding up well before it even starts to monetize its search platform. It will be interesting to see if tire kickers flock back to Baidu once the ads kick in, but ultimately there's enough growth here for both companies to succeed.
Moving in the right direction
It's important to keep watching the companies that surpass expectations. Over time, it will be a lucrative experience for investors as the market rewards the overachievers. That's the kind of surprise that we look for in the Rule Breakers newsletter service. Want in? Check out a 30-day trial subscription.
Regardless of your short-term view on the Chinese economy, there may be opportunity in Baidu (aka the "Chinese Google"). Our brand-new premium report breaks down the dominant Chinese search provider's strengths and weaknesses. Just click here to access it now.
Either way, come back next week to learn about more stocks that blew the market away in the coming days.