Updated from 3:23 p.m. ET to reflect the warning from Crocs after Monday's closing bell.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Although the majority of companies manage to beat the consensus earnings view, either because estimates have come down following a warning or else analysts historically set the bar pretty low, it still doesn't hurt to know which companies have a history of knocking the ball out of the park. To that end, Birinyi Associates ran a screen to find out which names have been the most consistent over the past nine years. The firm found 14 companies that have managed to top the average analysts' earnings estimate more than 90% of the time. The list is a mix of steady performers, including two Dow Jones Industrial Average components, and momentum names that cuts across industries. Tops on the list is Apple ( AAPL), which has come in ahead of consensus 94% of the time, falling short in just two quarters since 2002. Apple is reporting its fiscal fourth-quarter results after Tuesday's closing bell, and has topped the average estimate by an average of 21% over the past four quarters. Dow component United Technologies ( UTX), reporting before Wednesday's opening bell, and insurer Chubb ( CB) matched Apple's 94% beat rate. Chubb's average upside surprise is a healthy 15% over the past quarters, while United Technologies is running things a bit tighter, beating by an average of 2.5% in the past year. Chubb is slated to report its quarterly results after Thursday's closing bell. Two companies have beat the Wall Street view 93% of the time, Visa ( V), and lululemon athletica ( LULU). Their average upside surprise percentages over the past four quarters are 5% and 22% respectively. Despite pulling back 18% since hitting a 52-week high of $64.49 on July 20, lululemon shares are still up more than 130% in the past year. The company's third quarter runs through the end of October, so lululemon's results won't hit the wires until Dec. 9. Visa reports its fiscal fourth-quarter results after the close on Oct. 26, and the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for a profit of $1.25 a share on revenue of $2.4 billion. The next eight companies have beaten the consensus view 92% of the time since 2002: Intuitive Surgical ( ISRG), Priceline.com ( PCLN), Dow component Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), Netflix ( NFLX), National Oilwell Varco ( NOV), Lockheed Martin ( LMT), General Dynamics ( GD), and Mastercard ( MA).
Of that group, only Netflix has missed the average analysts' view in the past two years, coming in a penny short in last year's September quarter. This coming quarter though would seem to have an increased level of risk given the missteps the company has had of late. It alienated much of its subscriber base with an abrupt price increase that has already led it to cut it subscriber outlook for the third quarter. More recently, Netflix backtracked on plans to split its streaming and DVD-by-mail business, prompting some analysts to theorize subscriber defections may be even deeper than the company's lowered outlook would suggest. At the very least, the conference call following the report on Oct. 24 should feature some serious grilling for Reed Hastings & Co. Rounding out Birinyi's list is Crocs ( CROX), which has beaten expectations 91% of the time. The stock has outperformed the broad market so far in 2011, up nearly 60%, and its average upside surprise over the past year has been 48%. Unfortunately, Crocs has took itself out of the running after Monday's closing bell, bringing its outlook down significantly, citing soft sales in its consumer direct business and resulting weakness in margins. The Niwot, Colo.-based maker of faddish footwear from its proprietary Croslite foam resin material now sees earnings of 31 to 33 cents a share, well below a previous guidance for a profit of 40 cents a share. Revenue is expected to range between $273 million and $275 million vs. a prior projection of $280 million. Showing how priced for perfection historical outperformers can be, the stock was down more than 35% in Monday's after-hours session. Birinyi also threw in some tidbits on which companies have seen the sharpest increases and decreases in their quarterly earnings estimates in the past three months. Morgan Stanley ( MS), Wynn Resorts ( WYNN), and Crocs have seen their consensus view rise the most over that period, while Goldman Sachs ( GS) and J.C. Penney ( JCP) have had their average estimate come down the most. The expectation for Goldman has dropped to a loss of 9 cents a share as of Oct. 14 from the consensus estimate for a profit of $3.57 a share on June 30. J.C. Penney has seen the consensus view for its October-ending fiscal third quarter drop to a loss of 11 cents a share from earnings of 34 cents a share at the end of June. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org