Stock Quotes in this Article: AMGN, JAZZ, SNTS

DELAFIELD, Wis. (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.

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

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.

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

Santarus

Santarus (SNTS) is a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing proprietary products that address the needs of patients treated by physician specialists. This stock closed up 9.6% to $27.26 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 6.36 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.44 million

Volume % Change: 396%

Shares of SNTS ripped higher on Wednesday after the company topped analysts' second-quarter estimates and raised its guidance. Sales rose 89% to $89 million, beating estimates by $6 million.

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From a technical perspective, SNTS gapped sharply higher here into new all-time high territory with monster upside volume. This stock has been uptrending extremely strong for the last six months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $12.65 to its new all-time high of $28.10. During that move, shares of SNTS have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SNTS as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $26.25 and then once it sustains a move or close above its all-time high at $28.10 with volume that hits near or above 1.44 million shares. If we get that move soon, then SNTS will set up to enter new all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $35 to $37.

Amgen

Amgen (AMGN) is a biotechnology medicines company. It discovers, develops, manufactures and delivers innovative human therapeutics. This stock closed up 6.8% at $112.40 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 9.91 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 3.27 million

Volume % Change: 189%

Shares of AMGN ripped higher on Wednesday after news broke that the company is close to a deal to buy Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX) for $130 a share, valuing the deal at around $9.5 billion.

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From a technical perspective, AMGN spiked sharply higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $102.08 with heavy upside volume. This move pushed shares of AMGN into breakout territory, since it took out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $110 to $111.30. Shares of AMGN are now quickly moving within range of triggering another big breakout trade. That trade will hit if AMGN manages to take out Wednesday's high of $113.30 to its 52-week high at $114.95 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AMGN as long as it's trending above $110 or $108 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 3.27 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then AMGN will set up to enter new 52-week high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $120 to $125.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals

Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) is a specialty pharmaceutical company, which is focused on developing and commercializing innovative products to meet unmet medical needs in neurology and psychiatry. This stock closed up 3.5% at $80.73 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.50 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 950,117

Volume % Change: 70%

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From a technical perspective, JAZZ surged higher here right above some near-term support at $75 and into new 52-week-high territory with strong upside volume. This stock has been uptrending very strong for the last three months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $53.29 to its intraday high of $81.25. During that move, shares of JAZZ have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in JAZZ as long as it's trending above $75 and then once it sustains a move or close above its new 52-week high at $81.25 with volume that's near or above 950,117 shares. If we get that move soon, then JAZZ will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $85 to $90.

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

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Delafield, Wis.

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

Roberto Pedone, based out of Delafield, Wis., 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.