Earnings season is upon us, and we've already started seeing a few select companies break from the pack by producing better-than-expected results. That's the kind of news I zoom in on every Monday, since such stocks often warrant closer investigation. If the trend continues and analysts are out to lunch, chances are better than fair that these stocks will head higher.

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 Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Analysts aren't simply out to lunch when it comes to Google. They're staying out and calling in sick the next day. Wall Street was expecting the search-engine-market-share-eater to earn just $2.22 a share during the quarter, and the company generated profits of $2.49 a share for the period.

They call this an earnings surprise, but were any of you surprised? I sure wasn't. The only thing that would surprise me is if we get to a point where Wall Street would come within a breath of getting it right regarding this dynamic company.

Est. EPSEPS% Surprise
Q3 2004$0.56$0.7025
Q4 2004$0.77$0.9219
Q1 2005$0.92$1.2940
Q2 2005$1.21$1.3612
Q3 2005$1.36$1.5111
Q4 2005$1.76$1.54(13)
Q1 2006$1.97$2.2916
Q2 2006$2.22$2.4912


Look at every single reported quarter since Google went public two summers ago. Check out the last column. Google has blown profit targets out of the water by a double-digit percentage margin every single quarter save for one (in which it missed by 13%).

Will cryptologists please start answering the want ads for Google analysts?

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) was another topper. The biotech bellwether (which was a major part of our real-money Rule Breakers portfolio in the 1990s) delivered the appropriate overdose to rattle the market's expectations. The market was looking for profits per share to climb from $0.88 to $0.94, but Amgen came through with a $1.05 showing before acquisition-related charges. Amgen also inched its 2006 profit target higher, but that's often par for the course with a market-thumper like this.

Then we have Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL). The Mac daddy and iPod enabler earned $0.54 a share for its fiscal third quarter. That was a dime per share better than expectations. As with Google, you shouldn't really be surprised; Wednesday's report didn't exactly come out of left field. Apple has now blown past conservative profit targets for 14 consecutive quarters.

Keep watching the companies that lap expectations. Over time, they can reward investors in surprising ways. That's the kind of surprise we look for in the Rule Breakers newsletter service. The strategy has paid off, since the average Rule Breaker selection has clocked in slightly ahead of 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. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.