Stock Quotes in this Article: BBG, NBR

WINDERMERE, Fla. (Stockpickr) -- Professional traders running mutual funds and hedge funds don’t just look at a stock’s price moves; they also track big changes in volume activity. Often when above-average volume moves into an equity, it precedes a large spike in volatility.

Major moves in volume can signal unusual activity, such as insider buying or selling -- or buying or selling by “superinvestors.”

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Unusual volume can also be a major signal that hedge funds and momentum traders are piling into a stock ahead of a catalyst. These types of traders like to get in well before a large spike, so it’s always a smart move to monitor unusual volume. That said, remember to combine trend and price action with unusual volume. Put them all together to help you decipher the next big trend for any stock.

With that in mind, let's take a look at some stocks rising on unusual volume today.

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Bill Barrett

Bill Barrett (BBG) is an oil and gas company engaged in the exploration, development and production of natural gas and crude oil. This stock is trading up 3.8% at $20.50 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.76 million

Average Volume: 1.46 million

Volume % Change: 120%

Shares of BBG are trending higher today after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to buy from neutral.

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From a technical perspective, BBG is starting to spike back above its 200-day moving average of $20.24 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of BBG within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if BBG manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $21.64 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BBG as long as it’s trending above some key near-term support at $19.52 and then once it sustains a move or close above $21.64 with volume that hits near or above 1.46 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then BBG will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $23 to $24.

Nabors Industries

Nabors Industries (NBR) conducts oil, gas and geothermal land drilling operations in the U.S., Alaska, Canada, South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, the Middle East, the Far East, Russia and Africa. This stock is trading up 4.3% at $15.55 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 4.83 million

Average Volume: 5.14 million

Volume % Change: 51%

From a technical perspective, NBR is spiking higher right above some near-term support at $14.49 and back above its 200-day moving average of $14.94 with decent upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of NBR within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade, which will hit if NBR manages to take out its 50-day moving average at $16.37 and then once it clears more overhead resistance at $16.34 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NBR as long as it’s trending above $14.49 or above its 200-day at $14.94, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 5.14 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then NBR will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $17.28 to $18.24.

To see more stocks rising on unusual volume, check out the Stocks Rising On Unusual Volume portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Winderemere, Fla.

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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Roberto Pedone, based out of Windermere, Fla., is an independent trader who focuses on technical analysis for small- and large-cap stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. Roberto studied international business at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany. His work has appeared on financial outlets including CNBC.com and Forbes.com. You can follow Pedone on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zerosum24 or @zerosum24.