Why settle for ordinary quarterly reports?

I believe that the biggest factor in a stock's ability to beat the market is its ability 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 Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM). The BlackBerry maker saw its quarterly profits soar by 59% to $1.10 a share, as the company added 4.4 million net new subscribers and shipped a record 10 million BlackBerry devices. Analysts were banking on a profit of only $1.04 a share. The report came on the same day in which smaller smartphone rival Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) missed the market's bottom-line target.

Investors also dug Joy Global (NASDAQ:JOYG). The mining specialist posted net income of $1.20 a share in its fiscal fourth quarter, ahead of both the $1.11 it earned a year ago and the $1.01 Wall Street was expecting.

Finally, we have Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) rocking on the retail front. The consumer-electronics chain earned $0.53 a share for its fiscal third quarter. The pros were perched at the $0.43 mark.

Best Buy spooked investors by pointing out how the holiday quarter was checking in with lower gross margins, but it still operates in a compelling retailing niche. Now that Circuit City is gone, Best Buy, Conn's (NASDAQ:CONN), and even RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) stand to gain some market share over the holidays.

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.