Are These The Greatest Success Stories In Europe?

By: David Sterman of Street Authority

It's been five years since the Financial Times first made use of one of the less flattering economic acronyms: PIIGS. Back then, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain were seen as economic basket cases, and it was widely assumed that one or several of them would eventually default on their massive debt burdens.

While such an event has yet to pass, Greece remains quite sickly, and Portugal and Italy continue to wrestle with profound economic dislocation. To varying degrees, these countries have failed to embrace the badly-needed economic reforms that are essential to sow the seeds of a lasting economic recovery.

Yet despite heavy odds, Ireland and Spain are clearly on the comeback trail. Thanks to broad-based reform packages, their economies have begun to turn the corner. And with the aid of a very competitive currency, their futures are looking far brighter than most would have suspected just a few years ago. For investors, exposure to these dynamic turnaround stories can be had through a pair of country-specific exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Ireland Is Back In Business

Ireland and its citizens are remarkably resilient. They have been through myriad crises over the past two centuries, and always manage to bounce back. Most recently, they saw the country's economy crash and burn in the economic crisis of 2008-2009. Irish banks eventually grew so weak that a wave of bankruptcies were a real possibility. By 2012, unemployment in the country had risen to nearly 15%. Continue reading "Are These The Greatest Success Stories In Europe?"