Define: Bellwether

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Bellwether


Quick Summary of Bellwether


someone who assumes leadership of a movement or activity.



What is the dictionary definition of Bellwether?

Dictionary Definition


  1. The leading sheep of a flock, having a bell hung round its neck.
  2. Anything that indicates future trends.
  3. A stock or bond that is widely believed to be an indicator of the overall market’s condition.

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Full Definition of Bellwether


A bellwether stock is a stock that is generally viewed as an indicator of the overall market or sector direction. IBM, for instance, is a bellwether stock in the computer sector while Intel is a bellwether stock in the chip sector. A bellwether stock is considered a market trendsetter. Since a bellwether stock is widely perceived as an indicator of market direction, when a bellwether stock in any sector slips, the entire sector may see an overall drop in prices. Conversely, when a bellwether stock goes up in price, an entire sector may ride upon its coattails. Bellwether stocks are generally considered to be blue-chip stocks and are typically heavily-traded. The largest bellwether stocks (i.e. Wal-Mart, GE, etc.) are viewed by some investors as a gauge for the entire economy/market.


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Definition Sources


Definitions for Bellwether are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 25th March, 2020