The iShares MSCI Brazil ETF ( EWZ) is the largest non-U.S., single-country ETF, with about $10.5 billion in assets under management as of this writing -- up $1 billion in about a year's time and growing all the time. The fund covers mostly large-caps and Brazil's biggest-name brands, and it is a great way to give investors exposure to the booming market. Its popularity speaks of how highly Wall Street thinks of Brazil. And if you're a super Brazil Bull, there's even a leveraged ETF just for Brazil, the ProShares Ultra MSCI Brazil Fund ( UBR) that seeks to deliver 200% of the daily performance of the MSCI Brazil Index -- but obviously this is a much more aggressive play.
Emerging-Markets Stocks With Consumer Clout
Perhaps the biggest appeal of Brazil on a broad-based tack is that stocks have some built-in growth as the rise of the middle class in the region continues to lift stocks that are considered dead money in the U.S.
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Take beverage giant Companhia de Bebidas das Americas ( ABV), or Ambev for short. This beverage giant is a consumer staples stock that in America would normally be considered a sleepy play that is conservative and recession-proof but not altogether sexy. Yet Ambev boasts explosive growth potential. Its second-quarter net profit leaped 20% according to ABV earnings a few weeks ago. And share prices are up more than 7% so far in 2011 and over 50% in the past 12 months -- compared with a slight loss for the Dow since January and only 11% gains in the past 12 months.
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Although other consumer staples stocks like Coca-Cola ( KO) also have outperformed the market -- a slight gain in 2011 and about 20% returns in the last year -- they still are well behind the "sleepy" staples stocks of Brazil. Jeff Reeves is editor of InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks named here. Follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook.