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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.
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. Isis Pharmaceuticals
Isis Pharmaceuticals (ISIS) engages in the discovery and development of antisense drugs using novel drug discovery platform. This stock closed up 3.7% at $26.80 in Tuesday's trading session.
Tuesday's Volume: 2.70 million
Three-Month Average Volume: 1.46 million
Volume % Change: 175%
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Shares of ISIS jumped higher on Tuesday after the company reported more positive results for the substance now known as ISIS-APOCIII. The experimental diabetes drug was able to reduce fatty material known as triglycerides in more than three-fourths of the patients included in a phase II study.
From a technical perspective, ISIS jumped higher here right above some near-term support at $26 with strong upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of ISIS within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if ISIS manages to take out its 50-day at $28.22 to more near-term overhead resistance at $30 with high volume.
Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ISIS as long as it's trending above $26 or $25 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 1.46 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ISIS will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $32.09 to its 52-week high at $34.31. Any high-volume move above its 52-week high at $34.31 will then give ISIS a chance to tag $40.
Repros Therapeutics (RPRX) is development-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of oral small molecule drugs for major unmet medical needs in male and female health. This stock closed up 2.2% at $21.61 in Tuesday's trading session.
Tuesday's Volume: 689,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 445,358
Volume % Change: 105%
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From a technical perspective, RPRX rose modestly higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $19.62 with above-average volume. This stock has been trending sideways and consolidating for the last two months, with shares moving between $18.15 on the downside and $22.10 on the upside. Shares of RPRX are now quickly moving within range of triggering a major breakout trade above the upper-end of its recent sideways trading chart pattern. That trade will hit if RPRX manages to take out Tuesday's high of $21.87 and then once it clears its 52-week high at $22.10 with high volume.
Traders should now look for long-biased trades in RPRX as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $19.62 or above more support at $18.15 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 445,358 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then RPRX will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $25 to $27.
WuXi PharmaTech (WX) is a pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device R&D outsourcing company, with operations in China and the U.S. This stock closed up 4.5% to $25.10 in Tuesday's trading session.
Tuesday's Volume: 558,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 327,420
Volume % Change: 135%
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From a technical perspective, WX bounced notably higher here right above some near-term support level at $23.80 to $23.48 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last two months, with shares moving higher from its low of $18.91 to its recent high of $25.95. During that uptrend, shares of WX have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of WX within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if WX manages to take out its 52-week high at $25.95 with high volume.
Traders should now look for long-biased trades in WX as long as it's trending above those near-term support levels at $23.80 to $23.48 or above its 50-day at $22.23, and then once it sustains a move or close above its 52-week high at $25.95 with volume that hits near or above 327,420 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then WX will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $30 to $32.
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.