Stock Quotes in this Article: UPL, NOAH, CHEF

 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.

Noah

Noah (NOAH) is a service provider focusing on distributing wealth management products to the high-net-worth population in the People's Republic of China. This stock closed up 7.7% to $12.64 in Friday's trading session

Friday's Volume: 357,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 207,430

Volume % Change: 120%

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From a technical perspective, NOAH ripped higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $11.37 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of NOAH within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if NOAH manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $12.77 to $12.98 with high volume. At last check, NOAH hit an intraday high on Friday of $12.98 and volume was well above its three-month average action of 207,430 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NOAH as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $11.37 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 207,430 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then NOAH will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $14.64. Any high-volume move above $14.64 will then push NOAH into new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $18 to $20.

Ultra Petroleum

Ultra Petroleum (UPL) is an oil and natural gas company engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas properties. This stock closed up 1.8% at $22.36 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 10.05 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 3.19 million

Volume % Change: 300%

Shares of UPL spiked up a bit on Friday after the company said it moved to a profit for its second quarter on improved revenue and the absence of major ceiling test writedowns. The company reported net income of $116.4 million, or 75 cents per share, vs. a loss of $1.19 billion, or $7.76 per share, for the same period last year.

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From a technical perspective, UPL jumped higher here right above its 200-day moving average of $20.32 and back above its 50-day moving average of $21.48 with monster upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of UPL within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if UPL manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $21.96 to $22.47 with high volume. At last check, UPL closed near its intraday high of $22.50 and volume was well above its three-month average action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in UPL as long as it's trending above its 50-day $21.48 or its 200-day at $20.32 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 3.19 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then UPL will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $24.52. Any high-volume move above that level will then put $26 to $27.60, or even $30 into range for shares of UPL.

Chefs' Warehouse

Chefs' Warehouse (CHEF) is a specialty food products distributor that supplies products such as specialty cheeses, truffles, seafood, cooking oils and flour to restaurants, country clubs, hotels, caterers, culinary schools and specialty food stores. This stock closed up 7% at $22.11 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 316,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 72,070

Volume % Change: 367%

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From a technical perspective, CHEF ripped higher here right above some near-term support levels at $20 to $19.50 with heavy upside volume flows. This move pushed CHEF into breakout territory and into a gap down zone from last year, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $21.08. This move also pushed shares of CHEF into new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CHEF as long as it's trending above that breakout level of $21.08 or above support at $20 and then once it sustains a move or close above Friday's high of $23.09 with volume that's near or above 72,070 shares. If we get that move soon, then CHEF will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $25.97 to its all-time high at $27.26.

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.