Why settle for ordinary quarterly reports?

Every week, I take a look at three companies that beat market expectations, since I believe that's the biggest factor in any stock's ultimate success. Leaving Wall Street's pros with puzzled looks on their faces can be a good thing. It usually means that the companies have more in the tank than analysts figured. Capital appreciation typically follows.

Let's take a look at a few companies that humbled the prognosticators over the past few trading days.

We can start with Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFMI). The upscale grocer saw quarterly profits soar 71% to $0.32 a share, well ahead of the $0.26 a share that analysts were expecting.

The organic supermarket chain naturally suffered during the recession. Before posting positive comps this past quarter, Whole Foods Market had generated five consecutive quarters of negative identical-store sales.

Another highflier was priceline.com (NASDAQ:PCLN). The "name your own price" portal posted a 54% spike in pro forma net income to $1.99 a share. Wall Street was settling for an adjusted profit of $1.68 a share.

This kind of blowout isn't the norm among travel sites. Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) and China's Ctrip (NASDAQ:CTRP) landed within a penny of their targets. This is old hat for priceline, though -- it has now bested guesstimates in each of the past 15 quarters.

Finally, Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) is adding up nicely. The accounting-software juggernaut came through with earnings of $0.38 a share before charges. Wall Street's bean-counters were banking on a profit of only $0.32 a share. Intuit also raised its outlook for TurboTax sales, which competes with H&R Block's (NYSE:HRB) recently renamed At Home platform.

It's important to keep watching the companies that surpass 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.

priceline.com and Whole Foods Market are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Ctrip.com International is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems 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 stocks in this column. 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.