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 companies that humbled the prognosticators this past week.

We'll start with Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG). The motorcycle maker has been the picture of consistency over the years. The company has met or exceeded analyst estimates every single quarter on this side of the millennium, and last week's report was no different. The company grew its bottom line by 15% to earn $0.97 a share. That was a penny ahead of where Wall Street's finest had parked their hogs.

IBM (NYSE:IBM) was another topper. The corporate-tech bellwether earned $2.31 a share in its fourth quarter. That is better than the $1.99 per share it had pumped out a year earlier and the $2.19 a share that analysts were expecting. Even if you back out the $0.05 per share from discontinued operations -- and you should -- IBM still clocked in well ahead of expectations.

IBM has come a long way from its earlier forays into typewriters and, eventually, computers. Bowing out of the PC space to let others like Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and Gateway (NYSE:GTW) wash Windows, IBM has been leaning on its IT strengths to make a dent in the business world. Business, after all, is IBM's middle name.

Then we have TD AMERITRADE (NASDAQ:AMTD). The company produced the best market-thumping results in the discount brokerage space this past week, earning $0.24 a share. Wall Street figured that the company would only be good for $0.22 a share in profitability. It's a strong showing from a company that should continue to shine as long as folks keep trading in and out of stocks.

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.

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 the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. Dell is a Stock Advisor and an Inside Value pick. The Fool has a disclosure policy.