Every week, I look at three companies that beat market expectations, since I think that's the biggest factor in a stock's ability to beat the market. Leaving Wall Street's pros stunned usually means the companies have more in the tank than the analysts figured, and capital appreciation typically follows.

Let's look at a few companies that humbled the pros over the past few trading days.

We can start with Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited (NYSE:TNP). Shares of the energy transporter moved 27% higher last week after surprising the market with a quarterly profit. Business isn't great at Tsakos. Revenue dipped slightly during the period, and a profit of $0.02 a share may not turn heads. However, analysts were bracing for a loss of $0.08 a share on a sharper decline in revenue.

Marvell Technology (NASDAQ:MRVL) also landed on top. Analysts weren't holding out for much here, either. They saw revenue and earnings per share sliding 9% and 39%, respectively, for the maker of mobile communications equipment. After posting eight straight quarterly declines in year-over-year profitability, there was little reason to see that streak ending on Thursday.

It didn't end, but the 17% drop in earnings per share to $0.19 was less than half of the slide Wall Street was projecting. As cutthroat as Marvell's industry may be these days, it did gain chip share in the storage and networking end markets.

Finally, we have TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) landing ahead of the prognosticators. The DVR pioneer posted a narrower loss than analysts were expecting. TiVo's adjusted deficit of $0.09 a share was a lot less red ink than the $0.14 shortcoming Wall Street was banking on. TiVo posted healthy subscriber growth on the strength of technology licensing deals with cable and satellite television providers worldwide, though it's easy to be concerned about the decline in higher-yielding subscribers to TiVo's namesake boxes.

Moving in the right direction
It's important to keep watching the companies that surpass expectations. Over time, it will be a lucrative experience for investors, as the market rewards the overachievers. That's the kind of surprise that we look for in the Rule Breakers newsletter service. Want in? Check out a 30-day trial subscription.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.