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 this past week.
We'll begin with Ruby Tuesday (NYSE: RT ) . The casual dining chain served up a quarterly profit of $0.27 a share in its latest quarter. The company may have earned a robust $0.46 a share a year ago, but analysts were only looking for a profit of $0.20 a share this time around.
Despite a sharp drop in comps at the unit level, and stingy food costs, Ruby Tuesday's performance is commendable. Competitors like Cheesecake Factory (Nasdaq: CAKE ) have struggled. When even shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG ) (NYSE: CMG-B ) take a sharp tumble -- as investors worry about the ability of the industry's star pupil to shake off the economic doldrums -- any win is a good win.
Marriott International (NYSE: MAR ) is another topper. The hotelier checked in with earnings of $0.51 a share, just ahead of the $0.49-a-share profit it posted a year ago. Marriott delivered growth in its revenue per available room, a critical metric in its niche, but it also put up full-year guidance that hints at softening over the next few quarters.
Finally, we have Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL ) armed for bull. The defense contractor and aviation products specialist posted wider margins on the way to growing earnings by 24% to $1.07 a share. Wall Street was parked in the $1.02 a share hangar.
Having a defense angle has helped companies offset weaknesses elsewhere. A company like iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT ) -- which makes both the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner as well as military robotics that help smoke out roadside explosives -- can lean on government contracts during the lean times. Rockwell Collins is apparently doing fine even without the crutch, as it grew on both the commercial and government contracting sides.
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.