Stock Quotes in this Article: AFOP, IPXL, PNK

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.

Impax Laboratories

Impax Laboratories (IPXL), a specialty pharmaceutical company, develops, manufactures and markets bioequivalent pharmaceutical products. This stock closed up 7.2% at $25.65 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 2.64 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 620,847

Volume % Change: 303%

From a technical perspective, IPXL spiked sharply higher here right above some near-term support levels at $23.50 to $23.09 and back above its 50-day moving average of $25.37 with monster upside volume. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if IPXL manages to take out Monday's high of $26.23 to some more near-term overhead resistance at $27.07 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in IPXL as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $23.98 or above $23 and then once it sustains a move or close above $26.23 to $27.07 with volume that hits near or above 620,847 shares. If that move gets underway soon, then IPXL will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $28.50. Any high-volume move above $28.50 will then give IPXL a chance to trend north of $30.

Alliance Fiber Optic Products

Alliance Fiber Optic Products (AFOP) designs, manufactures and markets various fiber optic components and integrated modules for communications equipment manufacturers and service providers in North America, Europe and Asia. This stock closed up 7.8% to $18.68 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 1.49 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 610,236

Volume % Change: 164%

From a technical perspective, AFOP ripped sharply higher here and broke out above some key overhead resistance levels at $17.20 to $17.81 with strong upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last three months, with shares moving higher from its low of $11.16 to its intraday high of $18.80. During that uptrend, shares of AFOP have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if AFOP manages to take out Monday's high of $18.80 with strong volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AFOP as long as it's trending above $17 or above its 200-day at $16.03 and then once it sustains a move or close above Monday's high of $18.80 with volume that hits near or above 610,236 shares. If we get that move soon, then AFOP will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $21.50 to its 52-week high at $23.94.

Pinnacle Entertainment

Pinnacle Entertainment (PNK) owns, develops and operates casinos and related hospitality and entertainment facilities in the U.S. This stock closed up 5.6% at $23.23 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 3.71 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.14 million

Volume % Change: 268%

From a technical perspective, PNK spiked notably higher here right above some near-term support at $21.59 with above-average volume. This move briefly pushed shares of PNK back above both its 200-day moving average of $23.41 and its 50-day moving average of $23.43, before the stock closed just below those levels at $23.32. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if PNK manages to take out Monday's high of $24.05 with strong volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PNK as long as it's trending above $22.50 or above $22 and then once it sustains a move or close above $24.05 with volume that this near or above 1.14 million shares. If that move materializes soon, then PNK will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 52-week high of $26.77. Any high-volume move above that level will then give PNK a chance to tag $30.

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.