Can these 9 'Bad News' stocks rally back?

Matt Krantz

Who doesn't love a great comeback story? The same attraction goes for investors, many of which might be cheering for the rebound of nine stocks that have been down on their luck for half a decade.

There are nine stocks in the , including food processors Kellogg and Campbell Soup, energy company PG&E and garbage hauler Republic Services, that have lagged the market each and every one of the past five years on a price basis.

But if there's a bright spot, it's this: five of these nine "Bad News" stocks are beating the market this year. The biggest standout is PG&E, which has soared 13.6% this year, well above the 1.9% gain of the S&P 500. And that doesn't even include the company's current dividend yield of 4%.

Campbell's tomato soup is displayed at Santa Venetia Market on May 20, 2013, in San Rafael, California.
Getty Images

That's quite an improvement from last year when the shares rose 0.2%, while the S&P 500 rallied nearly 30%.

And take Kellogg. Shares of the maker of Froot Loops and Rice Krispies are up 7% this year. Again, it's a much better performance from last year when the shares underperformed the S&P 500 by 20 percentage points.

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Not all these bad news stocks are having such an impressive recovery this year, though. Property and casualty insurer Progressive is down 8.4% this year, after lagging the market by 0.5 percentage points in 2013 and 5.4 percentage points in 2012.

Eventually, investors hope these stock's luck will change. After all, not one of them has underperformed the past 10 straight years, so eventually maybe the downward streak will end.

And investors might have some patience with the ones at least paying market-beating dividends. Financial People's United Financial is yielding 4.6% and food distributor Sysco yields 3.2%, both topping the S&P 500′s roughly 2% annual yield.

The nine S&P 500 stocks that have lagged the market, excluding dividends, each of the three straight years.

PG&E — up 13.6% YTD
Devon Energy — up 13% YTD
Kellogg — up 7% YTD
Republic Services — up 5.5% YTD
Campbell Soup — up 4.4% YTD
Sysco — up 0.3% YTD
Nucor — down 2.8% YTD
People's United Financial — down 5.4% YTD
Progressive — down 8.4% YTD

Source: S&P Capital IQ, USA TODAY research

—By Matt Krantz of USA Today