What happened 

Shares of Corning (NYSE:GLW) jumped 19.7% in July 2020, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, as the company made some important announcements and released second-quarter earnings. 

So what 

The biggest announcement was that the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is making a $204 million payment to Corning as part of Operation Warp Speed. Corning will use the funds to expand domestic manufacturing for Corning Valor Glass vials to support vaccine manufacturing. According to the release announcing the agreement, Corning said that the company's vials can be filled as much as 50% faster than traditional vials and are up to 10 times stronger.

Illustration of COVID-19 vaccine vial.

Image source: Getty Images.

Late in the month, second-quarter earnings provided a look at how the company is doing amid the pandemic. Quarterly sales were down 13% from a year ago to $2.56 billion, and net income dropped 47% to $218 million, or $0.25 per share. Results were clearly good enough for investors to keep pushing the stock higher.

Now what 

The most notable event was the funds given for Valor Glass, which could be something Corning uses to grow long term. Investing in capital equipment is one of the riskiest things manufacturers can do if they don't know what demand is going to look like for a product. These funds will allow Corning to expand capacity with little or no risk, which should be a win for the company no matter what happens with the current vaccine. Given Corning's 2.8% dividend yield, this could be a great dividend stock for investors. 

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.