Don't settle for ordinary quarterly reports.

Each week, I look at three companies that beat market expectations, since I believe that such outperformance is the biggest factor in a stock beating the market. Leaving Wall Street's pros with stunned expressions 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 Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU). The accounting software company reported a 13% increase in adjusted profitability, or $1.89 a share. Bean-counting analysts only targeted adjusted earnings of $1.82 a share.

Investors shouldn't use this robust report to project a souped-up annual total. This is a highly seasonal company. Just as tax-preparation giants H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) and Jackson Hewitt shine during this taxing quarter -- those two companies will report in the coming weeks -- Intuit rocks during the tax-filing season, thanks to its TurboTax software juggernaut.

China's SINA (Nasdaq: SINA) also clicked past the pros. The new media specialist's adjusted earnings soared 66% to $0.34 a share. Wall Street was banking on $0.27 a share on the tweaked bottom line. History is on SINA's side; the company has now landed ahead of Mr. Market in 14 of the past 15 quarters.

SINA's performance isn't an endorsement of all dot-com plays in China. (Nasdaq: NTES) missed the market's estimates, and Perfect World (Nasdaq: PWRD) cratered on a bleak outlook earlier in the week. 

Finally, Target (NYSE: TGT) proved that "cheap chic" has its place in a gradually recovering economy. The discounter's net income climbed 29% to $0.90 a share. Wall Street figured Target would only earn $0.87 a share during the post-holiday quarter.

It's important to keep watching the companies that surpass expectations. Over time, it will be a profitable 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. and Perfect World are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. SINA is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. The Fool owns shares of Perfect World. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services 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.