Stock Quotes in this Article: AMRI, CATM, NMBL

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.

Cardtronics

Cardtronics (CATM) provides automated consumer financial services through its network of automated teller machines and multi-function financial services kiosks. This stock closed up 4.5% at $31.71 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 979,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 488,886

Volume % Change: 129%

From a technical perspective, CATM ripped higher here with above-average volume. This stock has been downtrending badly for the last three months, with shares moving lower from its high of $43.48 to its recent low of $28.03. During that downtrend, shares of CATM have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of CATM have now started to rebound higher off that $28.03 low and it's now quickly moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if CATM manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $32.27 to its 50-day moving average of $33.33 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CATM as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $30.37 or above $29 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 488,886 shares. If that breakout starts soon, then CATM will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 200-day moving average of $38.26 to $38.50.

Albany Molecular Research

Albany Molecular Research (AMRI), a contract research and manufacturing company, provides integrated drug discovery, development and manufacturing services primarily in the U.S., Europe and Asia. This stock closed up 7% at $18.67 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 995,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 575,645

Volume % Change: 128%

From a technical perspective, AMRI gapped sharply higher here right above some near-term support at $17 and it broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $18 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last month, with shares moving higher from its low of $14.38 to its intraday high of $18.76. During that uptrend, shares of AMRI 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 AMRI manages to take out Wednesday's intraday high of $18.76 to some more near-term overhead resistance at $19.11 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AMRI as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $17 and then once it sustains a move or close above $18.76 to $19.11 with volume that's near or above 575,645 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then AMRI will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $20.55.

Nimble Storage

Nimble Storage (NMBL) provides flash-optimized hybrid storage platform. This stock closed up 1.8% at $25.06 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 2.11 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 654,750

Volume % Change: 225%

From a technical perspective, NMBL trended modestly higher here right off some near-term support around $22.50 with strong upside volume flows. This move to the upside on Wednesday is starting to push shares of NMBL within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if NMBL manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $25.50 to its 50-day moving average of $27.73 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NMBL as long as it's trending above some near-term support around $22.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 654,750 shares. If that breakout starts soon, then NMBL will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $30.13 to $35.

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.