Stock Quotes in this Article: PJC, XRS, SUSP

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.

Susser Petroleum Partners

Susser Petroleum Partners (SUSP), is engaged in the wholesale distribution of motor fuels primarily in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana. This stock closed up 3.2% to $43.89 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 217,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 85,098

Volume % Change: 222%

From a technical perspective, SUSP jumped higher here right above some near-term support levels at $42 to $41.50 with above-average volume. This spike higher on Monday is starting to push shares of SUSP within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if SUSP manages to clear Monday's high of $44 to some more near-term overhead resistance at $45 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SUSP as long as it's trending above support at $42 or t $41.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 85,098 shares. If that breakout materializes soon, then SUSP will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at its 52-week high of $47.93.

Tal Education Group

Tal Education Group (XRS), together with its subsidiaries, provides K-12 after-school tutoring services under the Xueersi brand name in China. This stock closed up 8.6% to $25.16 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 955,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 380,100

Volume % Change: 183%

From a technical perspective, XRS exploded higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $25.21 with heavy upside volume. This move pushed shares of XRS into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $23.95 to $25.06. This spike higher on Monday is now quickly pushing shares of XRS within range of triggering another big breakout trade. That trade will hit XRS manages to take out some more key near-term overhead resistance levels at $25.90 to $25.98 and then once it clears its 52-week high of $26.58 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in XRS as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $22.95 or above more near-term support at $22.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 380,100 shares. If that breakout gets underway soon, then XRS 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 $35.

Piper Jaffray Companies

Piper Jaffray Companies (PJC) provides investment banking, institutional brokerage, asset management and related financial services in the U.S. and Europe. This stock closed up 4.5% at $44.99 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 309,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 100,635

Volume % Change: 213%

From a technical perspective, PJC spiked notably higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $43.36 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of PJC within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if PJC manages to take out some key near-term overhead resistance levels at $45.80 to its 52-week high of $47.43 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PJC as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $43.36 or above more near-term support near $42 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 100,635 shares. If that breakout begins soon, then PJC will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $47.43, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $50 to $55, or even 60.

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.