An event or indicator that shows the possible presence of a trend. The performance of certain companies/stocks and bonds are considered by analysts to indicate the condition of the economy and financial markets because their performance is well-correlated with a trend. Bellwether companies are usually the market leaders in their respective sectors.
A bellwether stock is a stock that is used to gauge the performance of the market in general. For many years General Motors was an example of a bellwether stock, hence the saying, "What's good for GM is good for America." Similarly, a rapid decrease in available steel may indicate economic recovery, since steel is used in manufacturing and building.
The word is a combination of "bell" and "wether". Shepherds would often hang bells around the necks of the sheep that led the flock in order to determine where they were in the fields.
Investment dictionary. Academic. 2012.
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bellwether — bell‧weth‧er [ˈbelˌweDə ǁ ər] noun [countable] FINANCE a type of stock, share etc whose price is thought to show the probable future direction of the market as a whole: • He periodically checks on a few properties chosen as bellwethers to see if… … Financial and business terms
Bellwether — Bell weth er, n. 1. A wether, or sheep, which leads the flock, with a bell on his neck. [1913 Webster] 2. Hence: A leader. [Contemptuous] Swift. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
bellwether — (n.) mid 14c. (late 13c. in Anglo Latin; late 12c. as a surname), from BELL (Cf. bell) (n.) + WETHER (Cf. wether); the lead sheep (on whose neck a bell was hung) of a domesticated flock. Figurative sense of chief, leader is from mid 14c … Etymology dictionary
bellwether — [bel′weth΄ər] n. [ME: see BELL1 & WETHER] 1. a male sheep, usually wearing a bell, that leads the flock 2. a leader, esp. of a sheeplike crowd 3. anything suggesting the general tendency or direction of events, style, etc … English World dictionary
Bellwether — A bellwether is any entity in a given arena that serves to create or influence trends or to presage future happenings. The term is derived from the Middle English bellewether and refers to the practice of placing a bell around the neck of a… … Wikipedia
bellwether — [[t]be̱lweðə(r)[/t]] bellwethers N COUNT: usu sing, oft N n If you describe something as a bellwether, you mean that it is an indication of the way a situation is changing. [mainly AM, JOURNALISM] If interest in apartments remains high, it could… … English dictionary
bellwether — UK [ˈbelweðə(r)] / US [ˈbelˌweðər] noun [countable] Word forms bellwether : singular bellwether plural bellwethers something that is considered to be a sign of what is likely to happen The performance of the banking sector is a good bellwether of … English dictionary
bellwether — Not weather. Wether is an Old English word for a castrated sheep. A bellwether is a sheep that has a bell hung from its neck, by which means it leads the herd from one pasture to another. In general use, it signifies something that leads or… … Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors
bellwether — Not weather. Wether is an Old English word for a castrated sheep. A bellwether is a sheep that has a bell hung from its neck, by which means it leads the flock from one pasture to another. In general use, it signifies something that leads or… … Dictionary of troublesome word
bellwether — /bel wedh euhr/, n. 1. a wether or other male sheep that leads the flock, usually bearing a bell. 2. a person or thing that assumes the leadership or forefront, as of a profession or industry: Paris is a bellwether of the fashion industry. 3. a… … Universalium