Every week, I take a look at a few companies that lapped their profit targets. Leaving Wall Street's pros with quizzical expressions can be a good thing. It usually means 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 over the past few trading days.

We can start with IBM (NYSE: IBM). The corporate-data-munching juggernaut posted a quarterly profit of $2.80 a share, well ahead of both the $2.26 a share it earned last year and the $2.68 a share that analysts were expecting. It's a move that bodes well for the tech sector in a very difficult market.

TD AMERITRADE (Nasdaq: AMTD) is another topper. The discount broker earned $0.40 a share in its latest quarter, clocking in just ahead of the market's $0.39 target. Couple that with a solid report by rival Charles Schwab (Nasdaq: SCHW) and it's easy to get optimistic about this week's upcoming earnings report from beleaguered bellwether E*Trade (Nasdaq: ETFC).

Perhaps the most impressive result of AMERITRADE's robust showing is that the discounter has now beaten Wall Street's consensus estimates in the past three quarters. The market may be rocky, but that isn't necessarily bad news to the brokerage industry, which feasts on volatility.

Finally, we have Parker Hannifin (NYSE: PH) powering up. The industrial equipment specialist earned $1.23 a share in its fiscal second quarter. The pros were perched at the $1.19-a-share mark. Parker Hannifin has now topped profit expectations for nine consecutive quarters.

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 free trial subscription.

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

Charles Schwab is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. A free trial subscription is waiting if you want to learn more.  

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.