The saying goes that a rising tide lifts all boats, but it rarely works that way in the market. Even in the thinnest sectors, one player often thrives while the others wallow in fiscal famine. This week, let's take a closer look at three stocks that outperformed with the buddy system intact. We'll look at industries where the water did rise, with one ship following the other higher.

Let's start with (NASDAQ:PCLN). The online travel specialist, which made a name for itself with William Shatner pitching its "name your own price" bidding gimmick, has evolved. It's a full-blown vacation portal these days, and its numbers seem to vindicate the company's more conventional ways.

Thanks to a 63% surge in gross travel bookings, the Stock Advisor recommendation earned $0.55 a share for its June quarter. The market was only holding out for a $0.51-per-share showing. Was Priceline an anomaly in an otherwise-grounded niche? Not exactly. Two days later, Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) also came through with better-than-expected profitability.

With all the high expectations about investing in China, is there still room for surprises? Last week, there was. Chinese gaming upstart The9 (NASDAQ:NCTY) blew past Wall Street's projections, coming in at $0.43 per share versus the expected $0.33 Wall Street had hoped for. Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation (NASDAQ:CTRP) also clocked in ahead of forecasts, earning $0.23 per share -- a penny higher than expectations.

Lastly, we turn to restaurant stocks. Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) served up healthy bottom-line portions, as the company behind Chili's and Romano's Macaroni Grill earned a nickel per share more than industry analysts had anticipated. Not to be outdone in the digestion process, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (NASDAQ:RRGB) clocked in 10% ahead of the market's profit target.

Keep watching the companies that lap expectations. Over time, it will be a rewarding experience for investors, as the market rewards the overachievers. That's the kind of surprise we look for in the Rule Breakers newsletter service. 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.