Don't settle for ordinary quarterly reports.

Every week I take a look at three companies that beat market expectations, 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 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 Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE), proving that there's still a cozy living to be had in Apple's doghouse. The developer of desktop publishing software, including the Apple-shunned Flash, earned an adjusted $0.56 a share in its fiscal fourth quarter, ahead of both the $0.39 a share it posted a year earlier and the $0.52 a share that Wall Street was expecting.

FSI International (Nasdaq: FSII) also managed to land ahead of analyst targets, though it's a matter of less red ink with the semiconductor specialist. FSI's loss of $0.06 a share is a welcome surprise when stacked against the $0.09-a-share deficit that investors were braced for. It's a nice contrast to chip bellwether Micron Technology (Nasdaq: MU), which missed Wall Street's profit projections a day later.

Somebody's noticing. FSI's shares have more than doubled since bottoming out two months ago.

Finally, we have Carnival (NYSE: CCL). Shares of the world's largest cruise line sailed to new highs after Carnival generated a quarterly profit of $0.31. Although that was a penny below the company's guidance a few months ago, it includes a one-time hit related to sailing disruptions after an engine fire on the Carnival Splendor.

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 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.

Apple and Adobe Systems are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Adobe Systems. The Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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.