With earnings season just around the corner, now is the time to brace oneself for some pretty important quarterly reports. Be on the lookout for companies that laugh at Wall Street targets and earn more than what was expected. That is a great sign of future upside surprises until the market can figure things out.

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

We'll start with PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), the salty snacks market leader and a steady second-place finisher in the cola wars. It had a little more fizz in the tank this time around, with its second-quarter earnings per share coming in 15% higher at $0.80 when analysts were looking for only a 10% improvement.

Cash flow, free cash flow, and gross margins all contracted during the period, but PepsiCo was able to make it up along the way to deliver double-digit gains on the top and bottom lines.

McClatchy (NYSE:MNI) was another topper. The newspaper publisher that recently gobbled up Knight Ridder had some good news to share. McClatchy earned $0.94 a share, a far better showing than its profit target of $0.88 a stub. This happened during the same period in which rivals Gannett (NYSE:GCI) and Tribune (NYSE:TRB) simply matched the bleak analyst forecasts that were lower than last year's second quarterly numbers.

Then there's Flow International (NASDAQ:FLOW). More flow than hustle, the manufacturer of high-pressure water jet systems really blew Wall Street's citizenry out of the water by earning $0.18 a share. That was comfortably ahead of the $0.12 per share that investors were holding out for; a year ago, the company reported a loss.

Pop, pulp, and power? Those were three ways to beat the Street silly last week.

So, keep watching the companies that lap expectations. Over time, it will be a rewarding experience for investors. That's the kind of surprise we look for 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 Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.