Nothing beats beating the market. That's because when a company tops profit targets that trained analysts have labored in setting up, it's a good sign that the company will continue to outperform. There are many other factors at play, but as long as the company's near-term momentum is strong, a favorable market surprise is as good a catalyst as any for a rally.

That said, let's take a closer look at a few of the companies that humbled the prognosticators this past week.

We'll start with Tiffany (NYSE:TIF). The jeweler earned $0.35 a share on an 11% uptick in worldwide sales. Even if you back out a nickel per share due to a lower tax rate on repatriated profits, Tiffany still topped Wall Street's $0.24 target handily. As a bonus, sales even improved in Japan, where the company had been deficient over the past two years. It's an impressive showing by Tiffany, especially in light of the fact that online retailers like Blue Nile (NASDAQ:NILE) and (NASDAQ:AMZN) continue to grow their shares of the jewelry market.

United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) also produced healthier-than-expected results. The leading distributor of health foods earned $0.28 a share, two cents ahead of where analysts were throwing down the granola. Serving the Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFMI) and Wild Oats (NASDAQ:OATS) chains, United can claim the country's two leading health food supermarket concepts, as customers and traditional grocers are starting to stock up their shelves with more wholesome and organic product lines.

That is why United has always been a crafty way to play not only on the coattails of Whole Foods -- a successful Stock Advisor pick dating back to its original recommendation during the summer of 2002 -- but to play on the niche itself.

Hain Celestial (NASDAQ:HAIN) was another related topper. It earned $0.20 a share before a series of onetime charges. That came in a cent better than analysts had been hoping for. Sales did come in a bit softer than expected, but that only speaks to Hain's operating prowess. From organic baby food to soy milk to its signature Celestial Seasonings tea lines, Hain is riding the same favorable trend as United. However, it is only growing half as quickly. Hain's 10% gain in sales this past quarter is no match for United's speedier 22% surge.

So, keep watching the companies that lap expectations. Over time, it will be a rewarding experience for investors. That's the kind of surprise that market watchers relish in the Rule Breakers newsletter service. The strategy has paid off -- the average Rule Breaker selection has more than tripled the S&P 500's market return. 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, but he does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.