Stock Quotes in this Article: MLM, SFG, YY

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 today.

Martin Marietta Materials

Martin Marietta Materials (MLM) is a producer of aggregates products for the construction industry. This stock closed up 4.2% at $102.75 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 1.31 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 326,695

Volume % Change: 292%

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From a technical perspective, MLM soared higher here back above its 200-day moving average of $100.32 and into breakout territory above $100.50 with strong upside volume. This stock recently formed a double bottom chart pattern at $94.25 to $94.01. Following that bottom, shares of MLM have started to uptrend and move back above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages. That move has now pushed shares of MLM within range of triggering a breakout trade. That trade will hit if MLM manages to take out Monday's high of $104.56 to some past overhead resistance at $106.54 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MLM as long as it's trending above its 200-day at $100.32 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 326,695 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then MLM will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $110 to $112.76, or its 52-week high at $113.65.

YY

YY (YY) is a social communication platform that engages users in real-time online group activities through voice, text and video. This stock closed up 9.6% at $54.55 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 3.20 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.67 million

Volume % Change: 215%

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From a technical perspective, YY exploded higher here and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $50.79 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of YY within range of triggering another major breakout trade. That trade will hit if YY manages to take out Monday's high of $54.75 to its all-time high of $55.35 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in YY as long as it's trending above $52 or $51, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 1.67 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then YY will set up to enter new all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $60 to $65.

Stancorp Financial

Stancorp Financial (SFG) together with its subsidiaries, provides financial products and services in the U.S. This stock closed up 1.5% at $60.35 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 690,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 211,792

Volume % Change: 215%

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From a technical perspective, SFG bounced modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $58 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last six months, with shares soaring higher from its lows of $43.01 to its recent high of $61.50. During that uptrend, shares of SFG have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of SFG within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if SFG manages to take out Monday's high of $60.45 to its 52-week high at $61.50 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SFG as long as it's trending above $59 or $58, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 211,792 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then SFG will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $65 to $70.

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.