Stock Quotes in this Article: DWA, HTWR, VHC

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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Dreamworks Animation SKG

Dreamworks Animation SKG (DWA) is engaged in the development, production and exploitation of animated films and their associated characters in the worldwide theatrical, home entertainment, television, merchandising and licensing and other markets. This stock is trading up 8.2% at $19.13 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 2.08 million

Average Volume: 1.09 million

Volume % Change: 221%

Shares of DWA are ripping higher today after Stifel Nicolaus upgraded the stock from sell to hold.

From a technical perspective, DWA is bouncing strongly to the upside here right off its 200-day moving average of $18.03 with heavy upside volume. This move has pushed shares of DWA into breakout territory, since the stock has cleared some near-term overhead resistance levels at $17.69 to $18.32. Shares of DWA are now quickly moving within range of triggering another major breakout trade, which will hit if DWA manages to take out some past overhead resistance at $19.82 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in DWA as long as it’s trending above its 200-day at $18.03 or above that breakout level of $18.32 and then once it sustains a move or close above $19.82 with volume that hits near or above 1.09 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then DWA will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $21.50 to $22.98.

VirnetX

VirnetX (VHC) develops software and technology solutions for securing real-time communications over the Internet. It currently own 20 patents in the U.S. and 26 foreign patents. This stock is trading up 1.9% at $36.07 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.65 million

Average Volume: 780,433

Volume % Change: 129%

From a technical perspective, VHC is moving modestly higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $34.22 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of VHC within range of triggering a major breakout trade, which will hit if VHC manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $36.60 to $37.65 with high volume. At last check, VHC has hit an intraday high of $36.84 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 780,433 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in VHC as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $34.22, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 780,433 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then VHC will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $41.93. Any move above $41.93 would then push shares of VHC into new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action.

Heartware International

Heartware International (HTWR) is developing a family of implantable left ventricular assist devices for the treatment of advanced heart failure. This stock is trading up 1.4% at $87.68 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 841,000

Average Volume: 189,975

Volume % Change: 606%

From a technical perspective, HTWR is bouncing modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $85.51 with heavy upside volume. This move has started to push shares of HTWR back above its 200-day moving average of $87.38 and it’s quickly pushing the stock within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if HTWR manages to clear its 50-day moving average at $88.82 and then once it takes out more resistance at $88.33 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in HTWR as long as it’s trending above its 200-day at $87.38, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 189,975 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then HTWR will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $91 to $94.54.

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.