The holiday-shortened week may have dried up the number of companies reporting earnings, but it didn't skimp on the fireworks. Several companies posted quarterly results that came in comfortably ahead of analyst expectations. That's worth noting because it often is a sign of more good things to come until Wall Street catches up.

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

We'll start with Nu Horizons Electronics (NASDAQ:NUHC). Even if Nu Horizons sounds more like a new boy band than a tech player, the company distributes active and passive electronic components. Nu Horizons earned $0.17 a share on a 55% increase in revenue. The Street was expecting profits to clock in at only $0.13 a share.

Despite resorting to more modest markups that nipped gross margins, the company made it up in volume and by shrewdly trimming back on its corporate overhead. In short, if this is a hot new band -- maybe even a Christian metal group -- maybe we should start listening.

Delta and Pine Land (NYSE:DLP) was another topper. The soybean and cottonseed specialist made up for a lackluster second quarter by coming through with a blooming good third quarter. Revenue rose a sharp 41%, but more importantly for our topper-watching purposes, the company earned $1.28 a share. That was eight pennies better than Wall Street's low target.

Then there's UAP Holding (NASDAQ:UAPH). When you sell fertilizer and pesticides, you earn your keep by either bringing things to life or killing them off. That kind of duality fits here because the stock was hammered on Friday despite the company hitting the ball out of the park.

UAP earned $1.11 a share to begin its fiscal 2007, well above the $1.00 projection. However, the company also warned that it would miss the mark for the balance of the year because of the challenging market environment. That's important. We live for the top hat, but sometimes the hat is coming off to facilitate an ungraceful bow and exit.

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, as the average Rule Breaker selection has trounced 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. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Foo l 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.