Every week, I take a look at a few companies that lapped their profit targets. Leaving Wall Street's pros with quizzical looks on their faces can be a good thing. It usually means that the companies have more in the tank than analysts figured, and capital appreciation often follows.
Let's take a look at a few companies that humbled the prognosticators over the past few trading days.
We can start with Carnival (NYSE: CCL ) . The leading cruise-ship operator coasted to a quarterly profit of $0.49 a share on Thursday, ahead of both the $0.48 a share it earned a year ago and the $0.41 a share that Wall Street was expecting.
High gasoline prices and an iffy economy have kept margins in check, but at least Carnival is still growing. This is still an industry coming into its own, as the cruising lifestyle begins to skew younger and operators build bigger ships and hit new ports. That may explain why rival Royal Caribbean (NYSE: RCL ) is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation and Steiner Leisure (Nasdaq: STNR ) -- the company that runs the spas on most cruise fleets, Carnival included -- has made the cut in Rule Breakers.
Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) is another topper. The consumer electronics superstore chain came through for investors, earning $0.43 a share in its latest quarter. Mr. Market was looking for a profit of just $0.37 a share.
Consumer electronics hasn’t been a good niche for investors lately, with smaller chains imploding and rivals like Circuit City (NYSE: CC ) and Hastings (Nasdaq: HAST ) trading in the single digits. However, Best Buy’s comps are positive, which shows that folks are still attracted to the concept.
Finally, we have Titan Machinery (Nasdaq: TITN ) mowing down the guesstimates. Analysts figured that the agricultural-goods dealer was only good for $0.13 a share in net income for its latest quarter. The company delivered earnings of $0.24 a share. The company is definitely at the right place at the right time, with higher food costs inspiring farmers to ramp up production.
The great thing about Titan is that it’s not a well-known stock, having gone public less than a year ago. However, I singled out the stock in my “How to Spot the Next Hot IPO“ column just days before Titan’s blowout quarter. I may have been lucky, but Titan is just good.
So, keep watching the companies that lap expectations. Over time, it will be a rewarding experience for investors as the market rewards the overachievers. That's the kind of surprise we look for in the Rule Breakers newsletter service. Want in? Check out a 30-day trial subscription.
Either way, come back next Monday to learn about more stocks that blew the market away.
Dive deeper into the three toppers: