Although the renaissance started in earnest last year, some investors may still be grappling with the fact that the PIIGS equity markets are among the world’s best performers.

In what was undoubtedly a surprise to those that were cajoled into believing the U.S. and Japan were the only developed markets worthy of investors’ capital, the iShares MSCI Ireland Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EIRL) ranked as one of 2013’s best-performing single-country ETFs. Yes, EIRL was better than the S&P 500 in 2013. [International ETFs That Topped the S&P 500]

This year, Italian stocks lead the G7 equity markets and the Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSEArca: GREK) is one of the best country-specific emerging markets ETFs to start the year. [Greece ETF Grinds Higher]

Do not sleep on Portugal and the newly minted Global X FTSE Portugal 20 ETF (NYSEArca: PGAL). PGAL’s November 2013 debut completed the PIIGS single-country ETF puzzle. More importantly, the launch appears to have been well-timed. [Portugal ETF Debuts]

Chris Zwermann, global strategist at Zwermann Financial, told CNBC Portugal is potentially the market of year in 2014 and he is forecasting a 15% jump for Portuguese stocks after the benchmark PSI 20 gained 15.5% last year.

“It’s the market of the year because long term interest rates (are) going down because the situation is improving. On the technical (side), we see a very good chance of (the stock market) going around 15 percent higher from here,” Zwermann said, according to CNBC.

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