Stocks couldn't quite break into positive territory in Tuesday's session, and both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) indexes finished lower on the day.

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Financial stocks gave back another small piece of the larger gains they've seen since the start of the year. Selling pressure in that industry pushed the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEMKT:XLF) lower by 0.3%. On the other hand, a solid uptick in gold prices sparked a 6.1% gain in the bullish bet on the precious metal, Direxion Daily Jr Gold Miners Bull 3X ETF (NYSEMKT:JNUG).

As for individual stocks, RetailMeNot (NASDAQ:SALE) and SUPERVALU (NYSE:SVU) attracted heavy investor interest following merger and acquisition news.

Outside the stock exchange in New York.

Image source: Getty Images.

RetailMeNot's buyout

RetailMeNot shares spiked over 48% after the company agreed to an acquisition. The digital discounting specialist struck a deal to deliver its audience distribution and brand to Harland Clarke for $11.60 per share in cash, which equates to a 50% boost over yesterday's closing price.

Inside a clothing retail store.

Image source: Getty Images.

Harland Clarke intends to combine these assets with its Valassis consumer media targeting brand. "RetailMeNot provides a new global digital channel to distribute our clients' offers that perfectly complements Valassis' current digital, mobile, mail and other print networks," Harland Clark CEO Victor Nichols said in a press release.

RetailMeNot executives sounded a positive tone in arguing that the deal represented the best path forward for the business in both the short and long term. "Not only are we delivering an immediate and significant cash premium to our stockholders," CEO Cotter Cunningham said, "but we are also meaningfully advancing our goal of becoming a leading savings destination for consumers."

Recent shareholders are likely to agree with management given the stock's 35% spike over the past 12 months. Those who have owned the stock through its wider struggles are likely booking losses from this deal; shares are still down 22% since the start of 2015.

SUPERVALU invests in the wholesale business

Shares of supermarket chain and grocery wholesaler SUPERVALU jumped as much as 11.1% on Tuesday before settling down to a more modest 5.5% gain. The volatility followed news that the company is acquiring the wholesale grocery distributor Unified Grocers in a deal valued at $375 million.

The purchase looks like a good fit for SUPERVALU, since the new business will immediately boost its wholesale segment by creating a combined network of 24 distribution centers and a client base of over 3,000 stores. While SUPERVALU's retailing division has been suffering under the weight of price deflation in the grocery industry, its wholesale segment is faring better, and in fact increased sales in its most recently reported quarter. It makes sense, then, that executives would seek to press their advantage in that arena.

"By acquiring the Unified business ... we will become a stronger and more efficient organization," SUPERVALU CEO Mark Gross said. "The transaction will enhance our ability to help our customers better compete in the evolving grocery industry."

The details of the transaction call for SUPERVALU to pay $114 million for full ownership of United Grocers' business, at which point it will pay off the company's debt of approximately $261 million. SUPERVALU expects significant cost synergies from the deal, but its success will ultimately be judged on whether or not it significantly bolsters the wholesale segment in the years ahead.

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