Don't 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 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 CarMax (NYSE: KMX). The used car retailer is no lemon, earning $0.44 a share in its latest quarter. Analysts were expecting net income to jump to $0.33 a share, but CarMax sped right past them.

Good things happen when comps climb 9% higher and net sales soar 23%, but this was also easy to see coming. The automotive industry has been flooring it for months. Ford (NYSE: F) and its peers continue to post double-digit sales growth. Sirius XM (Nasdaq: SIRI) -- a company that lives and dies by the state of auto sales -- recently revised its guidance higher. Last summer's Cash for Clunkers promotion may have steered buyers to new cars, but the climate is kind for new and well-maintained used rides these days.

Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) is another speedster. The enterprise software giant earned an adjusted $0.60 a share in its latest quarter, comfortably ahead of both the $0.46 a share it posted a year ago and the $0.54 a share that Wall Street was expecting.

Finally, we have Carnival (NYSE: CCL) sailing in. The leading cruise line operator posted a profit of $0.32 a share, as higher fuel costs ate up improving revenue growth on the way down to the bottom line. Carnival didn't surpass the $0.33 a share it rang up a year ago, but Mr. Market was banking on a profit of only $0.29 a share. Rival Royal Caribbean (NYSE: RCL) also coasted past the pros in its most recent quarter.

It's important to keep watching the companies that surpass expectations. Over time, it will be a lucrative experience for investors as the market rewards the overachievers. That's the kind of surprise that 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.

CarMax is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Ford is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of Oracle. 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 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.