Every week, I take a look at a few companies that surpassed 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 Best Buy (NYSE:BBY). The consumer electronics retailer earned $1.61 a share before charges during its holiday quarter, comfortably ahead of the $1.40-a-share profit that analysts were projecting. Things may get easier for Best Buy now that rival Circuit City liquidated for good a few weeks ago. That's also welcome news for smaller chains like Conn's (NASDAQ:CONN) and hhgregg (NYSE:HGG).

CKE Restaurants (NYSE:CKR) is another topper. The company behind the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's burger chains earned $0.05 a share in its latest quarter. Wall Street was expecting net income of only $0.03 a share. Sure, it's easy to expect fast-food concepts to thrive in this penny-pinching environment, but the victories aren't universal. Rival Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC) missed its profit target two days earlier.  

Finally we have Carnival (NYSE:CCL) sailing higher. The leading cruise ship operator scored a profit of $0.33 a share this past quarter, ahead of both the $0.30 a share it earned a year ago and the $0.19 a share that investors were banking on. It's a refreshing showing for the industry, since Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL) came up short earlier this year.

Keep watching the companies that exceed 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.

The Fool owns shares of Best Buy, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick and 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. 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.