Why settle for ordinary quarterly reports?

Every week, I look at three companies that have beaten market expectations, since leaving Wall Street's pros puzzled usually means that the companies have more in the tank than the analysts figured -- and capital appreciation often follows.

So, let's look at a few companies that humbled the prognosticators over the past few trading days.

We can start with eLong (NASDAQ:LONG). The Chinese travel portal posted a first-quarter profit of $0.01 a share, when investors were braced for another quarterly loss. Apparently, eLong's sector is a good one to be in. Larger rival Ctrip.com (NASDAQ:CTRP) also topped Wall Street's projections several weeks ago.

Bargain retailer Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) also came up big, earning $0.44 a share when Mr. Market was banking on a $0.40-per-share showing. Thriftiness is in, naturally, but several high-end apparel specialists, including Polo Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL) and Perry Ellis (NASDAQ:PERY), have trounced guesstimates lately.

Finally, we have China Mass Media on the move. The cash-rich Chinese television-advertising enabler earned a profit of $0.37 a share during the first quarter. The showing was 48% ahead of the $0.25 a share that analysts were targeting.

Keep watching the companies that surpass expectations. Over time, doing so 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.

Ctrip.com is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of toppers. He owns no shares in any of the companies in this story and 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.