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Best: iShares MSCI Ireland Capped ETF

iShares185YTD Performance: +14%

The Celtic Tiger turned Paper Tiger is starting to show some real stripes once more. While American and Japanese equities have stolen the spotlight so far this year, the iShares MSCI Ireland Capped ETF (EIRL) — a collection of Irish stocks across the capitalization spectrum — actually is edging out the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) and iShares MSCI Japan Index (EWJ) as of this writing.

The improvement in Irish stocks has come amid the country’s generally improving economic picture, reflected in a huge yield decline in the Irish 10-year note, from its peak south of 14% in summer 2011 to just above 4% presently. Also, the country is expected to exit its EU/IMF bailout by year’s end.

Despite a flat YTD performance for building materials manufacturer CRH (CRH), which makes up nearly a quarter of EIRL’s weight, the ETF has been buoyed by strong performances from other major holdings such as biotech company Elan (ELN, +39%) and airline operator Ryanair (RYAAY, +49%).

EIRL charges 0.5% in expenses, or $50 for every $10,000 invested.

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