The stock market was generally higher on Friday morning, although some pockets of the economy showed greater strength than others. Positive developments in the business world vied with the latest goings-on in Washington for market participants' attention, with some investors simply throwing up their hands at the end of what's been a tumultuous week. As of 11:30 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 94 points to 26,985. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) rose 5 points to 2,983, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) gained 2 points to 8,033.
The financial industry was one of the big winners on Friday, and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) led big banks higher with an important announcement about its leadership. Meanwhile, Endeavor Group Holdings was expected to go public this morning, but the company pulled its IPO late yesterday -- with significant implications for the broader market and other aspiring privately held companies looking to bring their shares to the stock market.
Wells Fargo brings in Scharf
Shares of Wells Fargo climbed 4% after the beleaguered banking giant finally filled the void in its executive suite. The bank said that Charles Scharf would be its next CEO, pulling the leader away from his previous role at Bank of New York Mellon.
Wells touted Scharf's experience. "With more than 24 years in leadership roles in the banking and payments industries," board Chair Betsy Duke explained, "Charlie has demonstrated a strong track record in initiating and leading change, driving results, strengthening operational risk and compliance, and innovating amid a rapidly evolving digital landscape."
Many investors have been uncomfortable with Wells Fargo's prospects since former CEO Tim Sloan retired early this year. After numerous scandals, the Federal Reserve took the extraordinary step of limiting the bank's future asset growth, putting it at a competitive disadvantage to its peers.
Shareholders now hope that Wells Fargo will be able to repair its reputation and return to its former prominence in the financial industry. That could take a long time, but Scharf appears to have the confidence of Wells Fargo investors, and that's a good first step for the bank to recover.
Endeavor calls the whole thing off
Meanwhile, investors who had hoped to buy shares of Hollywood talent agency Endeavor Group Holdings were sorely disappointed Friday morning, as the company chose not to move forward with its initial public offering.
There'd been several warning signs on Thursday that the Endeavor IPO might not go off as anticipated. The offering of fitness equipment specialist Peloton didn't go as well as most had hoped, and nervousness about the ongoing struggles that WeWork had experienced with its own IPO plans was weighing on the entire market for newly public stocks. Endeavor initially responded by cutting back its target price from its initial range of $30 to $32 per share to a new lower range of $26 to $29. It also said it would offer fewer shares.
Yet even that step didn't eliminate some of the concerns about the agency's offering. Earlier this week, Fool.com contributor Billy Duberstein pointed out several key facts about Endeavor's financial performance, debt load, corporate governance practices, and executive pay that some found troubling.
Endeavor might well come back if the IPO market starts to look better. Yet after some poorly received offerings, it could take a while before investors are ready to embrace even a high-profile stock like Endeavor.