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 over the past few trading days.

We can start with Lennar (NYSE: LEN). No one should be surprised to see the company post a loss in its latest quarter. Homebuilders are in a real bind with falling prices, excess inventory, and a glut of unsold homes in the resale market. However, Lennar posted a loss of just $0.56 a share, roughly half the $1.07 deficit for which analysts were braced.

It actually was an even better report than that, since, as fellow Fool David Lee Smith points out, Lennar suffered only an $0.18-per-share loss before unusual charges. That's pretty amazing, especially when fellow residential developer KB Home (NYSE: KBH) posted a loss that was nearly three times larger than the market was expecting a day after Lennar's report.  

Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) is another topper. The software maker that is cashing in on the commercialization opportunities behind the open-source Linux earned $0.20 a share excluding one-time charges, just ahead of the $0.19 a share profit target where Wall Street was hanging its hat.

Even though recent forays by Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), and Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) to make a mark in this space have stung Red Hat, the company is clearly still growing.

Finally, we have food giant ConAgra (NYSE: CAG) earning $0.63 from continuing operations in its fiscal third quarter, well ahead of the $0.41 a share in analyst estimates. The company has gotten over last year's recall of its Peter Pan peanut butter, which could have been both a sticky and chunky situation.

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.

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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.