Stock Quotes in this Article: AN, APKT, MOS

WINDERMERE, Fla. (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.

Major moves in volume can signal unusual activity, such as insider buying or selling -- or buying or selling by “superinvestors.”

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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.

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

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Acme Packet

Acme Packet (APKT) provides session delivery networks, enables secure, reliable delivery of next-generation voice, video and unified communications over IP networks. This stock is trading up 12.3% at $24.02 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 2.87 million

Average Volume: 1.81 million

Volume % Change: 149%

Shares of APKT are soaring higher today after Stifel Nicolaus upgraded the stock from hold to buy and slapped a $27 price target on the shares.

From a technical perspective, APKT is ripping higher here right above its 200-day moving average of $20.55 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strongly for the last three months, with shares soaring from a low of $15.20 to its intraday high of $24.09. During that move, shares of APKT have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now started to push APKT into breakout territory, since the stock is moving above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $23.31 to $23.35.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in APKT as long as it’s trending above its $22, and then once it sustains a move or close above $23.35 to $24.09 with volume that hits near or above 1.81 million shares. If APKT can maintain that trend, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $26 to $27.

AutoNation

AutoNation (AN) offers a range of automotive products and services, including new vehicles, used vehicles, parts and automotive repair and maintenance services, and automotive finance and insurance products. This stock is trading up 3.7% at $42.08 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.22 million

Average Volume: 822,910

Volume % Change: 169%

From a technical perspective, AN is ripping higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $40.98 with above-average volume. This stock recently formed a double bottom chart pattern at $38.28 to $38.29. Following that bottom, shares of AN have now ripped back above its 50-day and it’s quickly moving within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if AN manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $42.30 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AN as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $40.98, and then once it sustains a move or close above $42.30 with volume that hits near or above 822,910 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then AN will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $44 to $45. Any high-volume move above $45 will then put $47 within range for shares of AN.

Mosaic

Mosaic (MOS) produces and markets concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients for the global agriculture industry. This stock is trading up 3.1% at $58.54 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 5.56 million

Average Volume: 2.87 million

Volume % Change: 175%

Shares of MOS are trending higher today due to its second quarter profit that beat Wall Street estimates after North American sales helped potash volumes exceed its own forecast.

From a technical perspective, MOS bouncing higher here right above some near-term support levels at $55 to $56 with monster upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strongly for the last month and change, with shares soaring from its recent low of $48.29 to its high of $59.19. During that move, shares of MOS have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed MOS within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if MOS manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $59.19 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MOS as long as it’s trending above $56, and then once it sustains a move or close above $59.19 with volume that hits near or above 2.87 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then MOS will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $60.85 to $61.98. Any high-volume move above $61.98 would then push MOS into new 52-week high territory, which is bullish technical price action.

To see more stocks rising on unusual volume, check out the Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Winderemere, Fla.


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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Roberto Pedone, based out of Windermere, Fla., 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.