Dow's Rejects Rallying to Beat the Index

DJI Dow Jones Industrial Average
Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Maybe we want to call it the "Rejects Rally."

Since the Dow Jones Industrial Average's recent low on November 15, 2012, the twelve stocks pulled from the blue chip index since 1999 have outperformed the Dow, even as it has marched to new highs. So too have the rejects' replacements, but by a smaller amount.

Here are the numbers: Since November's low, the twelve "rejects" have returned, on average, 30.2 percent. The ten stocks that replaced them (it is not an apples to apples comparison because of name changes, company combinations and some other factors), are up an average of 24.3 percent. The Dow has gained 20.4 percent during this recent record run.

In a momentum market like the one we are experiencing now, it may come as no surprise the Dow's rejects are performing so well. Many of them trade well below their heyday highs, and are restructuring stories that are beginning to take firmer hold as the economy recovers.

Take the best performer among the Dow rejects since November15th, Navistar. The truck and engine maker's been struggling for a long time. It's undergone a number of restructurings and as recently as last summer was rumored to be headed for bankruptcy. Some recent good news, including the approval of a redesigned diesel engine, has parked a 78.4% gain in the stock since the November low.

Three others "rejects", Citigroup, AIG and General Motors, continue to recover from their near-death experiences during the financial crisis. Citi recently reported much-better-than-expected first quarter results. AIG is free of any government ownership and the government is getting set to sell its remaining stake in GM. The firms' performances since the November lows are impressive, Citi is up 40 percent, AIG is up 41.2 percent and GM is up 34.3 percent.

Not all of the Dow's rejects have performed well during this record rally, however. Two of them, Sears Holding and U.S. Steel, are down 10 percent and 4.3 percent respectively since mid-November.

Lastly, it is important to look at these stocks over the long term. We chose the start of 1999, and compared all of the performances of the Dow's 12 former members against the indexes. Only two, Altria and Honeywell, have outperformed the Dow since then.

Below see the Dow's "rejects" returns since the November low:

Mondelez (MDLZ) Up 23.1 percent (the successor to the former KraftFoods)

Citigroup (C) up 40 percent

General Motors (GM) up 34.3 percent

AIG (AIG) up 41.2 percent

Altria (MO) up 19.8 percent

Honeywell (HON) up 30.6 percent

International Paper (IP) up 39.4 percent

Goodyear Tire (GT) up 16.6 percent

Sears (SHLD) down 10 percent

U.S. Steel (X) down 4.3 percent

Navistar (NAV) up 78.4 percent

Owens-Illinois (OI) up 52.5 percent

Average gain: 30.2 percent

With reporting from Peter Schacknow

—By CNBC's Mary Thompson. Follow her on Twitter: @MThompsonCNBC