Bailed-out Portugal took a big step toward gaining full access to credit markets by raising 3 billion euros ($4 billion) from a sale of 10-year bonds.

The bonds are considered a benchmark of market faith, and Portugal's ability to tap investors for cash is a sign that confidence in the country's economic future is returning.

Portugal, one of 18 European Union countries using the euro currency, needed a 78-billion-euro rescue in 2011 to avoid bankruptcy as jittery investors refrained from lending it money. The bailout money runs out in June, and the government wants to re-establish market access before then.

The 10-year bond sale Tuesday was the first of its kind since the bailout.