Stock Quotes in this Article: INSM, SGMO, ENTA

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.

Enanta Pharmaceuticals

Enanta Pharmaceuticals (ENTA) is a research-and-development-focused biotechnology company that uses its robust chemistry-driven approach and drug-discovery capabilities to create small molecule drugs in the infectious disease field. This stock closed up 5.7% at $18.70 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 157,000

Average Volume: 66,349

Volume % Change: 99%

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From a technical perspective, ENTA spiked sharply higher here right above some near-term support at $17.34 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of ENTA within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if ENTA manages to take out some key overhead resistance levels at $19.23 to $20 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ENTA as long as it's trending above some near-term support levels at $17.34 or $17.05 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 66,349 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then ENTA will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $21.86 to its all-time high at $22.40. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give ENTA a chance to tag $25 to $30.

Insmed

Insmed (INSM), a development-stage biopharmaceutical company, develops inhaled treatments for serious lung infections. This stock closed up 9.3% to $11.78 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 2.63 million

Average Volume: 579,248

Volume % Change: 294%

Shares of INSM soared higher on Wednesday after the company priced 6 million shares of common stock at a price of $10.40 per share. The offering raised nearly $60 million and the company said it plans to use the cash for continued development of its Arikace, an antibiotic used to treat lung infections.

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From a technical perspective, INSM gapped higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $11.47 with strong upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of INSM within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if INSM manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $12.17 to $12.22 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in INSM as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $11.32 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 579.248 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then INSM will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $13.45 to its 52-week high at $14.30. Keep in mind that INSM is just coming out of a vicious downtrend, so that breakout needs to happen soon to increase the probability a successful breakout trade.

Sangamo Biosciences

Sangamo Biosciences (SGMO) is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the research, development and commercialization of engineered DNA-binding proteins for the development of novel therapeutic strategies for unmet medical needs. This stock closed up 5.3% at $10.20 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.66 million

Average Volume: 811,549

Volume % Change: 98%

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From a technical perspective, SGMO ripped higher here right above some near-term support at $9.25 with high volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last month, with shares soaring higher from its low of $6.86 to its intraday high of $10.40. During that move, shares of SGMO have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move is quickly pushing shares of SGMO within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if SGMO manages to take out some key overhead resistance levels at $10.92 to its 52-week high at $11.24 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SGMO as long as it's trending above support at $9.25 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 811,549 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then SGMO will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $11.24, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are its next major overhead resistance levels at $13.30 to $15.

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.