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 YRC Worldwide (Nasdaq: YRCW). Shares of the volatile trucker popped as much as 20% higher on Friday -- before giving most of those gains away -- after posting better than expected quarterly results. It's true that YRC's profit of $0.49 a share was solely the fruit of a juicy $52 million income tax settlement. However, even if you back that out, the company's deficit would be far less than the $1.37 a share that analysts were expecting.

Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) also kept on trucking. China's leading search engine posted another market-thumping quarter. Earnings nearly tripled to $0.50 a share, well ahead of the $0.46 a share that Wall Street was targeting.

Then again, landing ahead of the pros isn't much of a surprise from the Chinese speedster these days.


EPS est.


Q1 2010 $0.15 $0.20
Q2 2010 $0.31 $0.35
Q3 2010 $0.42 $0.45
Q4 2010 $0.46 $0.50

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Baidu was naturally helped when Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) decided to scale back its operations in China early last year. Google was tiring of censoring search results, and figured that backing out would be the best way to get its point across. The move has fattened Baidu's already chunky market share. There are some fast-moving players in search, but's (Nasdaq: SOHU) Sogou and its peers are too small at this point to dent Baidu's business.

Finally we have Level 3 Communications (Nasdaq: LVLT) posting a loss of $0.09 a share after backing out a one-time tax benefit. Analysts figured that the networking services provider would land with a deficit of $0.10 a share. Level 3 is still losing money in a cutthroat environment. There are also some near-term cash flow concerns. However, it's still comforting to see Level 3 post narrower losses than Wall Street was banking on in each of the past three quarters.

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.

Baidu, Google, and are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. The Fool owns shares of Google, which is also a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. 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.