Every week, I take a look at a few companies that pummeled their profit targets. Leaving Wall Street's pros with quizzical looks on their faces can be a good thing. It usually means that the companies have more in the tank than analysts figured, and capital appreciation often follows.

Let's take a look at a few companies that humbled the prognosticators this past week.

We can start with AutoZone (NYSE: AZO). The auto-parts retailer posted a profit of $4.12 a share, well ahead of even the $3.70 a share that Wall Street had most recently targeted after raising its estimates a few pennies over the past week. AutoZone is not alone; the entire auto-parts market is burning rubber. 

Rivals Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP) and O'Reilly Automotive (Nasdaq: ORLY) have also sped past the pros in their most recent quarters. This race hasn't even been close. The three retailers wound up earning 11% to 19% more than the market was expecting.

Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) also proved healthy in its annual checkup. The medical-products maker earned $0.90 a share, benefiting from a defibrillator recall at rival Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX). The pros were banking on a profit of $0.88 a share.

Finally, we have NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP). Shares of the data-storage specialist soared almost 18% on Thursday, after its adjusted quarterly profit jumped almost 80% to $0.50 a share. Analysts had set their sights on net income of $0.44 a share.

Keep watching the companies that lap 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.

The Fool owns shares of Medtronic. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of toppers. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. 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.