Why settle for ordinary quarterly reports?

I believe that trumping the analysts is the biggest contributor to a stock's outperformance. Leaving Wall Street's pros with quizzical looks usually means that the companies they lowballed have something left in the tank, and capital appreciation often follows. That's why I look every week at a few companies that recently beat market expectations. Let's examine three of them. 

We can start with Black & Decker (NYSE:BDK). The workbench master posted a third-quarter profit of $1.42 a share. That's less than the $1.59  the company earned a year ago, but the more recent figure includes a $0.21-per-share restructuring charge. Either way, Mr. Market was looking for net income of only $1.29 a share.

Baidu.com (NASDAQ:BIDU) was another topper. China's leading search engine followed the analyst-thumping example that global leader Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) set a week earlier. Baidu saw its quarterly net income soar 91% to $1.47 a share, well ahead of the $1.28 that Wall Street was targeting.

This news naturally bodes well for other Chinese Internet stocks such as Sohu.com (NASDAQ:SOHU) and SINA (NASDAQ:SINA). Growth-stock investors who've been burned by stateside companies' bleak holiday guidance can take heart. There are plenty of opportunities in China, where the economy --- for now -- is holding up relatively better.

Finally, biotech giant Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) is breaking through. Wall Street expected the company to earn $1.08 a share, flat with last year's showing. Instead, the drug maker delivered a profit of $1.23 a share.

The market is warming up to Amgen again. Despite Wall Street's general malaise, shares of Amgen have risen by 46% since bottoming out back in March.

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.

Google and Baidu.com are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Sina is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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 the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.