Why settle for ordinary quarterly reports?

Every week, I take a look at three companies that beat market expectations, because I believe that it's the biggest factor in a stock beating the market. 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 Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ). The PC and printing giant posted quarterly earnings of $1.03 a share, ahead of the $1.01 a share that the market was expecting.

Sure, it didn't exactly catch the market by surprise. The company had leaked its market-thumping profit a week earlier. It's still a win. Who said the PC market was soft? When Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) blew past analyst guesstimates last month, most figured it was an anomaly. Apple has been actively gaining market share lately and is a serial winner. However, now that HP and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) have both cruised past Mr. Market's profit targets in recent days, aren't they all winners?

Tiffany (NYSE:TIF) is another topper. The upscale jeweler generated net income of $0.35 a share from continuing operations during the third quarter. Wall Street was wrapping its ring finger around the $0.25-a-share mark. It's a refreshing report, especially after jewelers like Zale (NYSE:ZLC) offline and Blue Nile (NASDAQ:NILE) online have come up short in their latest quarters.

Finally, we have TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) really beating the market. The company posted a loss of $0.01 a share before a huge legal settlement windfall. It may be a weaker showing than the surprising profits that TiVo delivered during this year's first two quarters, but Wall Street was expecting a deficit of $0.06 a share.

So, keep watching the companies that top 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.

Dell is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Blue Nile is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of toppers. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, save for TiVo. 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.