Stock Quotes in this Article: HTHT, QIHU, BITA

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 recently.

Qihoo 360 Technology

Qihoo 360 Technology (QIHU) provides Internet and mobile security products in the People's Republic of China. This stock closed up 9.3% at $89 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 9.40 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 2.67 million

Volume % Change: 266%

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From a technical perspective, QIHU gapped up sharply higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $82.63 with heavy upside volume. This move also pushed shares of QIHU into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $83.95 to $86.53 and $88.62. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if QIHU manages to take out Wednesday's high of $89 with strong volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in QIHU as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $85 and then once it sustains a move or close above $89 with volume that's near or above 2.67 million shares. If we get that move soon, then QIHU will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $92.64 to its all-time high at $96.74. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give QIHU a chance to trend well north of $100.

Bitauto Holdings

Bitauto Holdings (BITA) provides Internet content and marketing services for the automotive industry primarily in the People's Republic of China. This stock closed up 14.7% at $34.90 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 3.62 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.25 million

Volume % Change: 182%

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From a technical perspective, BITA skyrocketed higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $29.01 with above-average volume. This move pushed shares of BITA into breakout and new 52-week-high territory, after the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $32.77 to $35.04. Shares of BITA closed just below the latter after it finished the trading session at $34.90. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if BITA can manage to take out Wednesday's high of $35.38 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BITA as long as it's trending above that first tier breakout level of $32.77 or above $32 and then once it sustains a move or close above $35.38 with volume that hits near or above 1.25 million shares. If we get that move soon, then BITA will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $40 to $43.

Huazhu Hotels Group

Huazhu Hotels Group (HTHT), together with its subsidiaries, operates, franchises and manages a chain of limited-service hotels in the People's Republic of China. This stock closed up 2.9% at $30.08 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 956,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 263,386

Volume % Change: 248%

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From a technical perspective, HTHT spiked notably higher here right above some near-term support at $28.80 with strong upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last six months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $17.52 to its recent high of $32.29. During that uptrend, shares of HTHT have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This move has now pushed shares of HTHT within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if HTHT manages to take out Wednesday's high of $31.21 to its 52-week high at $32.29 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in HTHT as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $28.80 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 263,386 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then HTHT will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $37 to $40.

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

-- 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.