What happened

Shares of Teladoc Health (TDOC 1.10%) are jumping today, up by 8.7% as of 10:45 a.m. ET. The virtual care leader didn't make any announcements or have any other obvious catalysts. Instead, the positive momentum for the overall stock market buoyed Teladoc's shares, with the S&P 500 rising 2.7%.

So what

Teladoc's share price has plunged close to 70% year to date. It's not surprising that the telehealth stock piggybacked on the market's positive momentum. A rising tide tends to lift all boats.

Even if the stock market continues to move higher, though, it won't automatically mean that Teladoc will march along in lockstep. The company's share price fell significantly in 2021 at the same time the S&P 500 delivered a strong performance.

The most important thing for Teladoc is to beat investors' expectations. That's something that the virtual care provider hasn't done recently -- at least not on the bottom line.

Teladoc's biggest challenge has been huge write-offs of goodwill related to its 2020 acquisition of Livongo Health. The company is also seeing slower-than-anticipated growth for its BetterHelp mental health business.

Now what

It's possible that a sustained economic downturn could hurt Teladoc, especially with its direct-to-consumer products and services. However, this could also hobble some of the company's smaller competitors, which would work to Teladoc's benefit over the longer term.

Perhaps the biggest wild card for Teladoc right now is what happens next with the COVID-19 pandemic. If the U.S. is in store for another major coronavirus surge this winter, the volumes of telehealth visits could increase markedly and boost Teladoc's revenue.