What happened

Shares of NCR Corporation (NYSE:NCR) jumped this morning as investors were processing positive news that a potential vaccine for COVID-19 showed promise in early human testing. 

As of 12:01 P.M. EST, NCR's stock was up 9.6%. 

So what

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the health of people across the globe and has impacted nearly every industry, but today's news gave investors a glimmer of hope that a vaccine may be on the way. Moderna, a biotech company, said today that a potential coronavirus vaccine has shown positive results with early human testing. 

Three line graph arrows moving up.

Image source: Getty Images.

Moderna's chief medical officer, Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D., said in a press release,

"When combined with the success in preventing viral replication in the lungs of a pre-clinical challenge model at a dose that elicited similar levels of neutralizing antibodies, these data substantiate our belief that mRNA-1273 has the potential to prevent COVID-19 disease and advance our ability to select a dose for pivotal trials."

Bear in mind that these reported results came from a total of 45 people in the study. And Moderna thus far has data from only eight of those participants -- four each from two of the three dosage levels tested -- showing strong levels of the kind of neutralizing antibodies that can actually stop a virus from replicating. That's not a bad sign, but Moderna will require much more testing, among much larger sample groups, to be certain that it's created a safe and effective vaccine.

While it's still unclear when a potential coronavirus vaccine will be widely available, investors jumped on the positive news today, sending the broader S&P 500 up 3% by midday. 

Now what

The stock market has been particularly volatile over the past few months as companies have been adversely affected by social distancing and NCR's shares have tumbled along with the broader market. Over the past few months, the S&P 500 has fallen 12%, while NCR's shares have plummeted 45%.

With so much uncertainty still surrounding the U.S. and worldwide economies, investors can likely expect more dips and spikes from NCR's stock.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.