Every week, I take a look at a few companies that lapped their profit targets. Leaving Wall Street's pros with quizzical expressions usually means that the companies have more in the tank than the 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 The9 (Nasdaq: NCTY). Shares of the Chinese online-gaming company soared 10% higher on Friday, after the company posted a fourth-quarter profit of $0.40 a share. Wall Street was looking for only earnings to come in at $0.25 a share for the company best known for licensing the popular World of Warcraft gaming franchise in China.

Investors should have probably seen it coming, given that fellow players Giant Interactive (NYSE: GA) and NetEase (Nasdaq: NTES) had also trounced income targets during the same period.

Hewlett-Packard (Nasdaq: HPQ) is another topper. The printing and computing giant earned $0.86 a share in its latest quarter, comfortably ahead of the $0.81-per-share mark where the pros were perched. Rival Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) may be a turnaround situation, but HP has been running in the right direction for several years now.

HP has topped estimates in each of the past 13 quarters. The streak predates the arrival of CEO Mark Hurd, though he clearly deserves a lot of the credit in improving margins at the company.

Finally, we have Marvel (NYSE: MVL) with a heroic performance. The character-rich comic book company saw fourth-quarter net income more than double to $0.35 a share, getting the better of villainous analysts scheming to trap the company with estimates of $0.29 a share in profitability.

Marvel's stock took a hit after the company warned that the aftermath of the writers' strike leaves it with at least a 15-month gap in theatrical in-house releases after this summer's The Incredible Hulk. That's no fun, but at least Marvel knew how to lay the knockout blow to the baddies this time around.

So keep watching for the companies that exceed expectations. It will be a rewarding experience for investors, because 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.

Dell and Marvel are recommendations of the Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter. Dell is also an Inside Value pick. NetEase has been given the nod in Rule Breakers. A free trial subscription is waiting with your name on it 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 also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.