What happened

Shares of DoorDash (NYSE:DASH) soared 12.9% last week on no particularly positive news for the third-party delivery app, but traders moved sharply into its stock because short interest on the stock surged 24% to 14.2 million shares, or 11% of its outstanding stock.

DoorDash isn't one of those so-called meme stocks that trade more based on what's said in internet chat rooms than on business fundamentals, but traders have kept a close eye on any stock with a high level of short interest, hoping to rally around its shares and cause a short squeeze.

Woman with DoorDash bag

Image source: DoorDash.

So what

DoorDash bucked the market trend last week. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average was plummeting 700 points last Monday, the food delivery app was heading the other direction, roaring 5% higher on the news of the surge in short interest. It continued riding that wave higher.

Trading volume on Monday more than doubled what it had been averaging, and it remained elevated all week long, rising sharply again on Friday as DoorDash's stock rose another 4% for the day.

Now what

DoorDash has a tough road ahead of it. Competition in its primary food delivery market is intense even as the industry consolidates because of the difficulty in making a profit. DoorDash was only able to briefly turn a profit in the last year's second quarter because of the sudden need for home food delivery during the pandemic, but it has since resumed its loss-making ways.

Considering DoorDash is the industry leader in the space, it shows just how tough this market is. Now it's expanding into grocery delivery, signing a partnership deal with supermarket chain Albertsons and following the lead of Uber Technologies, which long ago diversified its revenue streams.

Investors, though, shouldn't get their hopes up on causing a squeeze to materialize. Despite the spike in the number of investors who are betting against DoorDash stock, days to cover, or the amount of time it would take for short sellers to cover their position, stands at just four days. Anything over seven days is considered a lot, making a short squeeze unlikely.

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.