Why settle for ordinary quarterly reports?

I believe that the biggest factor in a stock's ability to beat the market is to beat the market's expectations. That's why I look every week at three companies that have humbled Wall Street's pros over the past few trading days. If a company has more in the tank than the analysts figured, capital appreciation often follows.

We can start with Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ). The country's largest winemaker stomped profit targets the same way it does grapes, by earning $0.54 a share in its latest quarter. Analysts were raising their glasses to a mere $0.41 per share in net income. Even with oenophiles trading down to cheaper, lower-margin wines in this crummy economy, Constellation is still finding a way to stay a step ahead of the pros.

Global Payments (NYSE:GPN) also charged in front of Wall Street. The financial-transactions processor earned $0.71 a share in its fiscal first quarter, fueled by gains in its overseas merchant-services business.

Global Payments' bottom line was flat with last year's showing, but $0.65 a share was Mr. Market's guesstimate. Whether we're talking about Western Union (NYSE:WU) or credit card giants MasterCard (NYSE:MA) and Visa (NYSE:V), there is clearly demand for transaction enablers in all economic climates.

Finally, we have Jabil Circuit (NYSE:JBL) checking in a winner. The circuit-board specialist rang up $0.16 a share in core earnings, twice the $0.08 per share that company watchers were looking for.

So keep watching the companies that surpass expectations. Over time, doing so will be a rewarding experience for investors, since 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 30-day trial subscription.

Either way, come back next Monday to learn about more stocks that blew the market away.

Western Union is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick and a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. 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 stocks in this column 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.