Stock Quotes in this Article: THC, WLP, KYTH

MADISON, 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."

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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.

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

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Tenet Healthcare

Tenet Healthcare (THC) is an investor-owned health care services company whose subsidiaries and affiliates mainly operate acute care hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, diagnostic imaging centers and related health care facilities. This stock is trading up 3.1% at $42.76 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 3.80 million

Average Volume: 1.98 million

Volume % Change: 250%

Shares of THC are ripping higher today in a weak tape after the company announced a $4.3 billion merger with Vanguard Health Systems (VHS).

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From a technical perspective, THC is spiking higher here right above some near-term support at $41.16 with heavy upside volume. This move has started to push shares of THC back above its 50-day moving average at $44.81. At last check, THC has hit an intraday high of $46.20 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 1.98 million. Shares of THC are now starting to move within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if THC manages to clear today's high of $46.20 and then more resistance at $47.33 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in THC as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $44.81 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.98 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then THC will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $49.47. Any high-volume move above $49.47 will then give THC a chance to trend well north of $50.

WellPoint

WellPoint (WLP), a health benefits company, offers a spectrum of network-based managed care plans to the large and small employer, individual, Medicaid and senior markets. This stock is trading up 1.8% at $80 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 2.60 million

Average Volume: 1.89 million

Volume % Change: 124%

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From a technical perspective, WLP is trending higher here right above some near-term support at $78 with above-average volume. This move has started to push shares of WLP into breakout and new 52-week-high territory, since the stock has cleared some previous overhead resistance at $79.21 to $80. At last check, WLP has hit an intraday high of $81 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 1.89 million shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in WLP as long as it's trending above $78 and then once it sustains a move or close above today's high of $81 with volume that hits near or above 1.89 million shares. If we get that move soon, then WLP will set up to enter new 52-week high territory above $81, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $85 to $90.

Kythera Biopharmaceuticals

Kythera Biopharmaceuticals (KYTH) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel prescription products for the aesthetic medicine market. This stock is trading up 3% at $24.58 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 52,000

Average Volume: 72,620

Volume % Change: 50%

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From a technical perspective, KYTH is bouncing notably higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $22.98 with decent upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of KYTH within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if KYTH manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $26 to $26.43 and then once it clears more resistance at $27 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in KYTH as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $22.98 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 72,620 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then KYTH will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $28 to $29. Any high-volume move above those levels will then put its all-time high at $31.93 into range for shares of KYTH.

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

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Madison, Wis.

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

Roberto Pedone, based out of Madison, 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.