5 Smart PIIGS Stocks To Buy Now

After struggling for a year, the economic situation in Europe seems to be stabilizing. According to data released last week, December’s reading for Markit PMI was revised upward to 54.3 from the earlier figure of 54. The improvement in this composite measure of services and manufacturing was a major positive for the economic bloc’s struggling economy.

On the other hand, economic growth came in at only 0.4% during the first quarter and 1.5% for the full year while official data on inflation remained unchanged. This makes it imperative to undertake an examination of the region’s weakest economies. However, there are ample signs that this may be the right time to add select stocks from this group to your portfolio.

Who Are the PIIGS?

Collectively known as the PIIGS, this group comprises the five weakest economies in Western Europe during the financial crisis of 2008. These countries are Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

On the whole, this is a group none of the so-called members want to belong to. Most of them are making commendable efforts to shake off this derogatory moniker. Despite their struggles, only a few of these countries have been successful in overcoming the gloom.

Ireland Leads on GDP

According to Ireland’s Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), the country will continue to show the fastest pace of growth among all the Eurozone countries. The ESRI estimates that the country’s GDP increased by 6.7% in 2015. Additionally, the institute predicts that GDP will increase by 4.8% this year.

This is an outcome of the reforms undertaken by Ireland since the crisis which includes austerity measures as well as a slew of other reforms. Spain is another country which has reaped the fruits of the economic reforms it has undertaken. On the other hand, Portugal, Italy and Greece in particular continue to struggle with their economic woes.

Greece’s Troubles Continue

Even after enduring a particularly dramatic year, Greece’s economic struggles continue. Last year was marked by two tumultuous elections, capital controls, hectic parleys surrounding a bailout package, a possible “Grexit” and even a referendum. And this year could be no different, even though Prime Minister Alex Tsipras has said that his country would finally exit the economic crisis in 2016. Not all market watchers believe that this could be a year of “national rebirth.”

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