The stock market was narrowly mixed on Monday, but it returned to a quieter level of activity after several turbulent trading sessions last week. The Dow and S&P 500 both finished very close to the unchanged level, though the Nasdaq Composite posted more substantial gains of almost half a percent. Without much news to drive the market, many investors focused on the retail sector, where a key marketing campaign from the leading online retailer to attract new members had negative impacts on brick-and-mortar stores. Company-specific news also helped send some stocks higher, and ClubCorp Holdings (NYSE:MYCC), CF Industries Holdings (NYSE:CF), and Gold Fields International (NYSE:GFI) were among the best performers on the day. Below, we'll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so well.

ClubCorp hits a hole-in-one

Shares of ClubCorp Holdings soared 30% after Apollo Global Management (NYSE:APO) said that it would spend $1.1 billion to purchase the country club and golf course operator. Under the terms of the deal, Apollo agreed to pay a strangely precise amount of $17.12 per share in cash for ClubCorp, and shares traded nearly all the way up to that price today. ClubCorp board chair John Beckert noted that the transaction "represents the culmination of our review of strategic alternatives and achieves our goal of enhancing value for shareholders." The golf course operator also believes that Apollo's support will help give members even better experiences, even if ClubCorp's shareholders won't be the ones to benefit further from continued success.

Country Club of the South.

Image source: ClubCorp Holdings.

CF climbs toward the sun

CF Industries Holdings picked up 7% on a good day for fertilizer stocks in general. Prices in the corn market climbed to their highest levels in more than a year, with commodities market participants fearing that a lack of rainfall and hot weather in key U.S. growing regions could lead to less supply. Analysts expect higher corn prices to lift the price of fertilizers as well, and shareholders are hopeful that better pricing could lift CF and its peers out of their recent slump. Investors will have to hope that expected production-capacity shutdowns still take effect in order to help support higher prices. Even with today's gains, CF shares trade at only half where they did a couple years ago, and it will take considerably more good news to restore hard-hit investors' confidence in the stock.

Gold Fields looks brighter

Finally, shares of Gold Fields International climbed 7%. The gold mining company got a lift from a pause in the recent downturn in the gold market. Even though bullion prices rose only $2 per ounce to $1,214 today, they bounced back from an early drop, and investors seemed pleased that at least for now, the yellow metal didn't breach the $1,200-per-ounce level. Falling metals prices have accompanied moves from the Federal Reserve to pull back from its financial crisis-era policies of bond purchases, and the recent push higher in bond yields reawakened fears from precious-metals investors about the possible impact of further economic strength on the gold market. Gold Fields is still in good position to handle gold prices at current levels, but it will have to keep working hard to minimize costs in order to get as much profit as possible from its operations.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.