Every week, I take a look at a few companies that lapped their profit targets. Leaving Wall Street's pros with quizzical looks on their faces can be a good thing. It usually means that the companies have more in the tank than analysts figured, and capital appreciation often follows.

Let's take a look at a few of these beaters that humbled the prognosticators this past week.

We'll start with Bear Stearns (NYSE:BSC). The investment banker saw fiscal fourth-quarter profits soar 38% higher to hit $4 per share. Analysts were only expecting the company to earn $3.36 a share. Oh, it's good to be a broker these days. The market is coming off a healthy showing in 2006, and that is attracting both investors and companies looking to go public.

How good is it to be an investment banker? Well, rival Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) did even better. Profits nearly doubled to $6.59 a share in its final quarter of fiscal 2006. Wall Street was banking on just $6.04 per share out of the company. Beyond the obvious catalysts, Goldman's bonus-propping improvement also stemmed from active trading in fixed income, currencies, and commodities.

Then we have Costco (NASDAQ:COST). The warehouse-club giant, which dukes it out with BJ's Wholesale (NYSE:BJ) and Wal-Mart's (NYSE:WMT) Sam's Club in selling grocery items in bulk, grew earnings to $0.51 a share, up from a $0.45-per-share showing a year earlier. That was just a penny ahead of the market's consensus, but it's a notable achievement. Even though Costco spent most of its go-go days in the 1990s trouncing expectations, it had clocked in ahead of the pros in just half of the previous eight quarters. This may be the start of a return to its former market-stomping glory.

So, 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.

Costco is aMotley Fool Stock Advisorpick. You can find out why, and see which other stocks made the cut, with a 30-day free trial. Wal-Mart is an Inside Value selection.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of toppers. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.