We all use the term "Bellwether" — think about GE’s earnings miss and Google’s (GOOG) earnings beat — but did you ever wonder where it comes from?
It turns out that the term references a castrated ram (No, this is not a cheap shot at GE). English shepards used to employ a castrated ram — also know as a wether — to help manage the flock. Despite the Ram’s missing accoutrement, the flock of sheep, not knowing any better, followed it anyway. (Gee, that sounds suspiciously familiar!). To make it easy to locate the flock in large fields or thick fog, the shepherds hung a bell around the wether’s neck.
Hence the term bellwether: In the stock market, a bellwether (barometer stock in the UK) is the stock of a company that is regarded as a leader in its given industry (castration optional). . .
Now you know!
Hat tip JW