Stock Quotes in this Article: FURX, HI, XPO

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.

>>4 Big Stocks on Traders' Radars

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.

>>5 Low-Priced Stocks to Trade for Gains

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

Furiex Pharmaceutics

Furiex Pharmaceuticals (FURX), a drug development company, engages in the compound partnering business primarily in the U.S. This stock closed up 7.4% at $113.55 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.05 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 192,029

Volume % Change: 275%

>>5 Ways to Invest Like a Pension Fund

From a technical perspective, FURX ripped sharply higher here right off $100 with strong upside volume. This stock recently gapped up sharply from around $45 to $121.97 with monster upside volume. Following that move, shares of FURX pulled back to just under $100 before the stock popped higher on Wednesday. This spike is now quickly pushing shares of FURX within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if FURX manages to take out Wednesday's high of $117.65 to its 52-week high of $121.97 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in FURX as long as it's trending above its recent low of $99 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 192,029 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then FURX will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $130 to $140.

XPO Logistics

XPO Logistics (XPO) provides transportation and logistics services in the U.S. This stock closed up 2.6% at $25.41 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 2.25 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 646,792

Volume % Change: 290%

>>5 Stocks Set to Soar on Bullish Earnings

From a technical perspective, XPO spiked notably higher here right above some near-term support at $23.74 with above-average volume. This stock has been downtrending badly for the last month, with shares dropping from its high of $30.90 to its recent low of $23.74. During that downtrend, shares of XPO have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of XPO have now started to bounce off that low of $23.74 and it's starting to move within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if XPO manages to take out Wednesday's high of $25.57 to its 50-day moving average of $25.88 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in XPO as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $24.34 or above more support at $23.74 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 646,792 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then XPO will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $29 to $30.

Hillenbrand

Hillenbrand (HI), a diversified industrial company, makes and sells business-to-business products and services for various industries worldwide. This stock closed up 7.3% at $28.04 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 955,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 271,727

Volume % Change: 205%

>>5 Rocket Stocks to Buy in February

From a technical perspective, HI ripped sharply higher here right off its 200-day moving average of $26.11 with above-average volume. This move briefly pushed shares of HI back above its 50-day moving average of $28.32, before the stock closed just below that level at $28.04. Shares of HI are now starting to move within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if HI manages to take out some key near-term overhead resistance levels at $29.04 to $29.51 and then once it takes out its 52-week high at $29.95 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in HI as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $26 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 271,727 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then HI will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $35 to $37.

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.


RELATED LINKS:







Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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.