Bellwether Defined

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?

Me neither.

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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Eric Davis commented on Apr 21

    Nice… ACI has you stock high.

    but is it a post worthy of a philosopher king?

  2. John commented on Apr 21

    Thanks. I was just wondering about “wether” and the source of “bellwether.”

  3. wally commented on Apr 21

    I know it is somewhat off-topic, but the Chinese government, long ago, functioned quite well with eunuchs holding positions of power in the bureaucracy. I’d like to see the practice restored in our modern government – and it wouldn’t hurt to do it in large corporations, as well.
    It would solve a lot of problems and would make people consider very seriously before embarking on those careers.

  4. Big Al commented on Apr 21

    I knew that, now find out about a “Gimmer”.

  5. Roger Bigod commented on Apr 21

    Today’s fact I’d really rather not have learned. Now whenever I hear that word I’ll go ouchie and cross my legs.

  6. AGG commented on Apr 21

    Now we know what sort of person is chosen for political leadership and why. Rasputin would have cheered.
    It’s easier to ride a GELDING THAN A STALLION.

Posted Under