IT consulting firm Cognizant Technology Solutions (Nasdaq: CTSH) just blew the doors off its third-quarter earnings report, to which the market responded with a disinterested yawn. 

Its $1.2 billion in revenue and $0.66 of GAAP earnings per share represented 43% and 47% growth, respectively. Management pointed out that the growth was consistent across product lines and geographies, meaning that the weak European economies were unable to drag the company down. The report easily trumped the company's own guidance as well as analyst expectations, and the outlook for the next quarter and full year were also raised.

Cognizant stands tall among its peers in the IT consultancy industry. The company sports much wider margins than Accenture (NYSE: ACN), is in the same league as Wipro (NYSE: WIT), and still has a ways to go before catching up to the stellar margins of Infosys (Nasdaq: INFY). But a common denominator across the board is this: Cognizant is growing both sales and earnings much faster than any of its direct rivals.

The picture obviously doesn't change much if you add behemoths IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) to the mix -- other less profitable parts of the giants' conglomerate-style operations drag down the profitability of their consulting divisions, and they're far too big to keep up with Cognizant's growth. While Cognizant fires on all cylinders and shows lofty growth, Big Blue's outsourcing segment was seen as a low point of its business last quarter.

So the stock may look pricey in terms of price-to-earnings ratios but makes up for it with quality margins and lots of growth. With a market cap of $19.6 billion and $4.2 billion in trailing-12-month sales, Cognizant is actually the smallest of all the consulting businesses I've mentioned here and thus less constrained by the law of large numbers than its name-brand competitors.

With all of these positives in mind, it's still easy to see why the report didn't lead to a lasting pop in the share price: Most of it was already priced into the stock. Cognizant's stock has gained 20% over the past three months, 69% in the past year, and nearly tripled over five years. In each perspective, the stock has crushed the competition and the market -- even though everybody else pays a dividend and Cognizant doesn't.

Call it profit-taking, call it an expected surprise, or call it "priced for perfection." Either way, Cognizant may be expensive but remains worth every penny. It's a solid winner among my "outperform" CAPS picks and could help you, too, in just a couple of clicks.

All-star CAPS player and Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Accenture is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. The Fool owns shares of International Business Machines. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.