Stock Quotes in this Article: FLML, GHL, CARA

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.

Flamel Technologies

Flamel Technologies (FLML), a specialty pharmaceutical company, develops and commercializes pharmaceutical products based on its proprietary polymer based technology. This stock closed up 6.6% at $15 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 616,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 222,855

Volume % Change: 221%

From a technical perspective, FLML ripped sharply higher here right above some near-term support at $14 with above-average volume. This spike higher on Monday is starting to push shares of FLML within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if FLML manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $15.36 to its 52-week high at $15.75 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in FLML as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $14 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 222,855 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then FLML will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $18 to $20.

Greenhill

Greenhill (GHL) operates as an independent investment bank for corporations, partnerships, institutions and governments worldwide. This stock closed up 2% to $49.25 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 3.56 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 420,016

Volume % Change: 420%

From a technical perspective, GHL jumped higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $49 with monster upside volume. This stock recently formed a double bottom chart pattern at $45.45 to $45.33. Following that bottom, shares of GHL have started to uptrend and move back above its 50-day. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the near-term if GHL manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $49.28 to some more resistance at $50.09 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in GHL as long as it's trending above Monday's intraday low of $47.95 or above $47 and then once it sustains a move or close above $49.28 to $50.09 with volume that hits near or above 420,016 shares. If that move starts soon, then GHL will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 200-day moving average of $51.01 to $52.50. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give GHL a chance to tag $54 to $55.

Cara Therapeutics

Cara Therapeutics (CARA), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on developing and commercializing chemical entities designed to alleviate pain by selectively targeting kappa opioid receptors. This stock closed up 9.3% to $17.02 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 173,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 122,161

Volume % Change: 50%

From a technical perspective, CARA exploded higher here right above some near-term support at $15.20 with above-average volume. This sharp spike higher on Monday is quickly pushing shares of CARA within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if CARA manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $17.20 and then once it clears some key near-term overhead resistance at $17.69 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CARA as long as it's trending above $16 or above Monday's intraday low of $15.45 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 122,161 shares. If that breakout materializes soon, then CARA will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $19 to $20, or even $20.70 to $22.

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.