Every week, I take a look at a few companies that lapped 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 Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM). The fast-food giant that owns the Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC chains earned $0.50 a share in its latest quarter. Wall Street was rolling its burrito at the $0.45-per-share mark. Strong growth in China helped offset a stateside decline in sales.

Costco (NASDAQ:COST) is another topper. The warehouse club retailer earned $0.91 a share before a revenue recognition charge, well ahead of the $0.83 per share that analysts were expecting.

See the trend? Thrifty diners at Yum!. Thrifty shoppers at Costco. Both reports came during the same week that found penny-pinching havens McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) waxingupbeat about their own near-term prospects. It's the kind of trend that makes you wonder if a generic-soft-drink maker like Cott (NYSE:COT) is taking away business from full-priced pop stars Coke (NYSE:KO) and Pepsi.

Well, not so fast. PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) is the third market beater worth looking at. The leader in salty snacks and silver medalist in soda earned $0.99 per share during its fiscal third quarter. The pros were looking for a $0.96-per-stub showing.

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 Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter service. Want in? Check out a 30-day trial subscription. It's free.

Either way, come back next Monday to learn about more stocks that blew the market away.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.