Don't settle for ordinary quarterly reports.

I take a look at three companies that beat market expectations every week, since I believe that it'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 priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN). The "name your own price" travel portal hit a new high last week, posting an adjusted quarterly profit of $3.09 a share, well ahead of the $2.65 a share that Wall Street was expecting.

This was a good quarter for the online travel specialists, as Expedia (Nasdaq: EXPE) and Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE: OWW) also clocked in ahead of the pros with their earnings during the same period. Whether this bodes well for the travel industry in general or simply proves that more folks are migrating to booking websites to finalize their getaways remains to be seen.

STEC (Nasdaq: STEC) also blasted past Wall Street's target, fueled by the return of EMC (NYSE: EMC) -- its largest customer. The solid-state drive company posted net income of $0.06 a share -- or $0.09 a share on a non-GAAP basis. Analysts were banking on breakeven results.

Finally, we have Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) in the game. The video game publisher delivered an adjusted deficit of $0.24 a share. Red ink isn't pretty, but the market was braced for a loss of $0.35 a share.

EA's stock went on to close nicely higher last week, unlike larger rival Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI), which tanked after only narrowly beating Wall Street profit estimates. Activision Blizzard shooed away investors with weak sales and an uninspiring near-term outlook.  

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 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.

Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and priceline.com are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. The Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard, on which Motley Fool Options has recommended a synthetic long position. 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.