Nine lovable losers investors can't resist

Matt Krantz
Siqui Sanchez | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Investors love to talk about their high standards when picking "quality" stocks, but some can't seem to resist the companies that lose money.

Solar and energy are definitely two areas investors are willing to look past losses. There are nine stocks in the broad Standard & Poor's 1500 index, including GT Advanced Technologies, Penn Virginia and SunEdison, that have more than doubled in value over the past 12 months despite losing money and being expected to lose even more in the first calendar quarter, says a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ.

And that's just the number of money-losers with stock prices that have doubled. There are actually 22 companies in the S&P 1500 with stocks that have beaten the market, gaining more than 20.3% in the past 12 months, despite losing money 2013 and being expected to post a loss again in the first quarter.

You might think these stocks are still riding their huge gains from last year when anything went on Wall Street. But that's not the case either, as many continue to outperform this year as investors are supposedly being more discerning about that they buy.

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Shares of solar company GT Advanced, oil company Penn Virginia and solar power equipment company SunEdison are up 98%, 86% and 54% respectively this year. And these money-losing companies stocks are just among the 19 such shares that are up 10% or more this year, including retailer Barnes & Noble and restaurant Ruby Tuesday, which are up 11.2% and 10% this year respectively.

It seems investors can't keep away from certain stocks, even when they're in the red.

Nine stocks that have doubled in value the past 12 months, despite losing money in 2013 and being expected to lose money in the first calendar quarter of 2014:

Company Symbol Stock change (12 mo) Stock change (YTD)
GT Advanced TechGTAT425%98%
Penn VirginiaPVA357%86%
Career EducationCECO279%36%
TriQuint SemiconductorTQNT173%60%
Basic Energy ServicesBAS137%85%
AK SteelAKS126%-20%
Century AluminumCENX115%34%
Pioneer EnergyPES100%80%

By Matt Krantz, USA Today