Stock Quotes in this Article: HIMX, NUAN, SINO

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.

Silicon Motion Technology

Silicon Motion Technology (SIMO), a fabless semiconductor company, designs, develops and markets semiconductor solutions for the multimedia consumer electronics market. This stock closed up 6.6% at $15 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 624,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 291,250

Volume % Change: 115%

From a technical perspective, SIMO ripped sharply higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $14.27 with above-average volume. This move pushed shares of SIMO into breakout territory, after the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $14.54. Shares of SIMO are now quickly moving within range of triggering another major breakout trade. That trade will hit if SIMO manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $15.41 to $15.48 and then once it takes out some past overhead resistance at $16.23 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SIMO as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $14.27 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 291,250 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then SIMO will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $18 to $20.

Nuance Communications

Nuance Communications (NUAN) provides voice and language solutions for businesses and consumers worldwide. This stock closed up 7.7% at $16.05 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 21.77 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 7.04 million

Volume % Change: 350%

From a technical perspective, NUAN gapped sharply higher here and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $15.47 to $15.50 with monster upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of NUAN within range of triggering another major breakout trade. That trade will hit if NUAN manages to take out Wednesday's high of $16.24 to some more near-term overhead resistance at $16.47 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NUAN as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $15.65 or above its 50-day at $14.99 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 7.04 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then NUAN will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 200-day moving average of $17.94 to $19, or even $20.

Himax Technologies

Himax Technologies (HIMX) designs, develops and markets semiconductors for flat panel displays. This stock closed up 7% at $14.80 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 16.22 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 7.65 million

Volume % Change: 375%

From a technical perspective, HIMX soared higher here right off some near-term support at $14 with monster upside volume. This move briefly pushed shares of HIMX into breakout and new 52-week-high territory, after the stock flirted with some near-term overhead resistance at $15.23. Shares of HIMX closed just below its intraday high of $15.33 with the stock finishing the trading session at $14.80. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if HIMX manages to take out Wednesday's high of $15.33 with strong volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in HIMX as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $14.02 or above more support at $13 and then once it sustains a move or close above $15.33 with volume that's near or above 7.65 million shares. If we get that move soon, then HIMX will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $18 to $20.

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.