Underpromise. Overdeliver. That's the mantra that drives earnings surprises. For investors, the treat is especially sweet because it means that professional bean-counting analysts have underestimated a company's profit power. That often leads to more upside surprises in the future.

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 Adobe Systems (NASDAQ:ADBE). The company behind online publishing staples including Photoshop and Acrobat grew earnings by 38% in its fiscal third quarter to hit $0.29 a share. Wall Street was left gasping for air at its estimated $0.27 mark. Sales rose by 21%, strikingly similar to the company's second-quarter showing, when profits and revenue rose by 37% and 21%, respectively.

The company expects to earn between $0.27 and $0.29 per share in the final quarter of its fiscal year. That translates into a strong company trading between 25 and 26 times fiscal 2005's bottom line. No, that isn't cheap. However, compared with other online titans, like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), Adobe provides a more affordable and creative way to play the continuing growth of the Internet. After all, if you surf around long enough, you're bound to run across an Adobe-generated PDF file. For now, at least, PDF may as well stand for Pretty Darn Fine results.

Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) was another topper. Sales rose by a mere 5% at the food giant, but earnings grew by 28%. That was good for $0.23 per share in net income, two pennies ahead of the market's consensus. Volume fell just a smidgen, but margins widened as the company behind Prego pasta sauces and Pace salsas was able to raise its average selling prices.

Pall (NYSE:PLL) is the third company that we'll be taking a closer look at this time. The water filtration specialist put the "oh" in H2O after earning $0.47 a share in its fiscal fourth quarter, while analysts were looking for a $0.44 performance. It was a good week for the filtration sector in general: Rival CLARCOR (NYSE:CLC) also reported better-than-expected numbers.

So keep watching for 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, considering that the average Rule Breakers 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.