Stock Quotes in this Article: AMTD, RBA, VRA

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.

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade (AMTD) provides securities brokerage services and technology-based financial services to retail investors, traders and independent registered investment advisors in the U.S. This stock closed up 1.8% to $34.44 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 5.06 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 2.65 million

Volume % Change: 72%

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From a technical perspective, AMTD trended modestly higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $32.50 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending for the last month and change, with shares moving higher from its low of $29.78 to its recent high of $34.99. During that uptrend, shares of AMTD have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This spike higher on Wednesday is quickly pushing shares of AMTD within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if AMTD manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $34.99 to its 52-week high at $35.16 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AMTD as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $32.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 2.65 million shares. If that breakout gets underway soon, then AMTD will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $40 to $45.

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers

Ritchie Bros Auctioneers (RBA) sells industrial equipment and other assets for the construction, agricultural, transportation, energy, mining, forestry, material handling, marine and real estate industries through its unreserved auctions and online marketplaces. This stock closed up 1.6% at $23.51 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.11 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 516,733

Volume % Change: 125%

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From a technical perspective, RBA trended modestly higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $22.75 with above-average volume. This stock recently formed a double bottom chart pattern at $21.88 to $21.98. Since forming that bottom, shares of RBA have spiked higher back above its 50-day moving average of $22.75 with strong upside volume flows. That spike is quickly pushing shares of RBA within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if RBA manages to take out its 52-week high at $23.89 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in RBA as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $22.75 and then once it sustains a move or close above $23.89 with volume that's near or above 516,733 shares. If that breakout materializes soon, then RBA 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 $33.

Vera Bradley

Vera Bradley (VRA), designs, produces, markets and retails accessories for women. This stock closed up 7.4% to $28.20 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 3.67 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 439,150

Volume % Change: 714%

From a technical perspective, VRA ripped sharply higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $25.33 with monster upside volume. This move briefly pushed shares of VRA into breakout and new 52-week-high territory, after the stock flirted with some near-term overhead resistance at $28.60. Shares of VRA closed just below that level at $28.20 but well off its intraday low of $25.61. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if VRA manages to take out Wednesday's high of $28.77 with strong volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in VRA as long as it's trending above $27 and then once it sustains a move or close above $28.77 with volume that hits near or above 439,150 shares. If we get that move soon, then VRA will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $35 to $50.

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.