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 can start with NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX). The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange posted adjusted profit of $0.76 a share on Friday, comfortably ahead of the $0.73 a share that analysts were expecting.

Timely acquisitions, effective cost controls, and record summer trading helped drive NYSE Euronext's performance higher. It's the same mix of variables that has buffed up the financials at trading rival Nasdaq (NASDAQ:NDAQ).

Bankrate (NASDAQ:RATE) is another topper. The leading source for interest rate information earned $0.39 a share before stock-based compensation expenses during the third quarter. The market was braced for $0.35 per share on that basis, far more than the $0.21 a share it earned a year ago.

Reaching out to financial institutions may seem like a crummy business with credit tight on the lending side and rates falling on the investing side. Then again, that is also fertile ground for desperate providers to pay up in order to get noticed on Bankrate. That's the key. It's not the Internet, because other e-friendly companies like Popular's (NASDAQ:BPOP) E-Loan and IAC/InterActiveCorp's (NASDAQ:IACI) Lending Tree are feeling the pain. Bankrate is riding the sweet spot of financial lead-generation with a thicker moat than bears think.

Finally we have Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX). The maker of the super cozy shoes earned $0.66 a share in its latest quarter. With analysts banking on just $0.63 a share during the period, Crocs has now beaten expectations in every single quarter since going public.

Crocs shares fell, though. The problem? Inventory levels grew at an alarming clip, leading investors to believe that the shoes aren't selling as briskly as they used to. This doesn't appear to be Heelys (NASDAQ:HLYS) revisited. Crocs continues to diversify its product lines and reach out globally. No, that isn't enough to explain away the stubborn inventory growth, but the stock hasn't been this cheap in a long time (if it really is just a blip).

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 Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter service. Want in? Check out a free 30-day trial subscription.

Either way, come back next Monday to learn about more stocks that blew the market away.

Bankrate and NYSE Euronext are Rule Breakers picks. Read all of the original recommendation reports -- now -- with a free 30-day trial subscription.

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 part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.