With earnings season kicking up as usual, now would be a good time to point out the importance of smacking around profit targets. Companies that top Wall Street's estimates are usually in a great position to repeat the feat until the pros catch up. Watch the next few weeks closely, as you are going to see a few new market darlings emerge.

Let's take a look at a few of the beaters that humbled the prognosticators this past week.

We'll start with Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG). Things have been going pretty well for the motorcycle maker since it changed its ticker symbol to HOG this summer. Naturally, there was nothing fundamentally different about Harley after it ditched its old HDI moniker, but there's nothing wrong with awarding it a few karma points.

In its third quarter, the 103-year-old company earned $1.20 a share. That left Wall Street eating dust at its $1.10-a-share target. It was also a 25% improvement over the $0.96 a share that it had earned a year earlier.

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) was another topper. The company behind the Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC chains served up quarterly profits of $0.83 a share. That's a whole lot of lasagna pizzas, chicken quesadillas, and popcorn chicken being consumed. Investors were only looking for the fast-food titan's bottom line to grow from $0.69 a share to $0.75 a share for the period.

Then we have Genentech (NYSE:DNA). Even though investors often see biotech as a sector with promising pipelines but not a whole lot of near-term profitability, companies like Genentech and Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) have been in the black for ages. This past week, it was Genentech's turn to keep the money flowing, with earnings soaring 61% to $0.53 a share. On an adjusted basis, the company earned $0.59 a share, while analysts figured it would only be good for a $0.51-per-share showing.

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 at 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.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of toppers. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.